California has a ‘Johnny Cash Trail’

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash, the legendary country singer who accomplished much in his lifetime, will have a new honor. A trail in northern California, in the city of Folsom, has been unveiled, and will be respectfully named the “Johnny Cash Trail”.

Many know the story of Johnny Cash. Born in 1932, he began playing guitar and writing songs at the early age of 12. His low baritone voice drew crowds in while his masculine charm kept them around. Though Cash had many albums throughout his career, up until his sorrowful death at age 71, one very specific album has inspired the unveiling of a trail in Folsom.

Bitter Tears, The American Album set, and even Unchained were all popular albums written by Cash but his album At Folsom Prison from 1968, that followed his hit Folsom Prison Blues written in 1955, is what would inspire the trail that is now going to be known as the “Johnny Cash Trail.”

Johnny’s song Folsom Prison Blues holds within it the famous line “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” In his lyrics he sings of being in Folsom Prison because he shot a man in Reno. He sings of the train that passes by, whose whistle he can always hear, and how it bothers him because the people in it are “drinkin’ coffee and smoking big cigars” but he knows he just can’t be free. It is a simple song with fewer lyrics than most of the songs released today. Nevertheless, it was a famous song from 1955, that many believe sparked Johnny’s career in singing at prisons. He did two shows at Folsom State Prison in 1968. Several tracks from each of the shows are what he used to create At Folsom Prison, the album.

However, when he began his career Folsom Prison Blues was just another song that he recorded with the Tennessee Two, Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant and now the song has inspired a trail in California that is suppose to replicate the East Gate Guard Towers of Folsom Prison, according to city officials of Folsom. The trail will traverse the prison property and will link to other trails. The city officials of Folsom have spent much time working on the trail to complete it and make it safe for visitors but, so far, only the first part of the trail has been unveiled, though plans are underway to finish the “Johnny Cash Trail.”

Johnny Cash

The trail, once finished, will be 2.5 miles and feature a walkway and bike trail, with art installations and a 40 foot statue of Johnny Cash. They are also planning to have a 2 acre park next to the bridge and trail.

The problem now, however, is simply funding. The city is looking for funds to help finish the trail and build the large park area. They are currently planning to host a fundraiser in hopes of raising $3 million to build the park area next to the trail.

Sources say that Johnny Cash’s daughter, Rosanne Cash, is expected to attend all the unveiling ceremonies for the trail that will pay tribute to her father. The “Johnny Cash Trail” is expected to be a huge landmark, bringing visitors from all around the world.

By Crystal Boulware

Rolling Stone
CBS Sacramento