Tag Archive | Johnny Cash

Recommended Viewing: My Father and The Man in Black

Saul with Johnny and June
Saul Holiff with Johnny Cash and June Carter (All Images Courtesy of Johnny and Saul)

When Saul HoliffJohnny Cash’s one-time manager – committed suicide in 2005, he did so without leaving a note for his family. For Holiff’s eldest son, Jonathan, that meant he’d never get the chance to resolve the enigma of the man who had been an aloof, antagonistic and emotionally distant authority figure his entire life. But Jonathan got a second chance to “know” his father when requests for memorabilia received from Johnny Cash fans lead to the discovery of a secret storage unit that he elder Holiff had kept for most of his life. What happened in the wake of that discovery provided a revelation on many levels.

Saul Storage Locker
Saul Holiff’s Storage Unit

Saul Holiff’s storage unit was preserved as a true time capsule of his life and career managing Johnny Cash – a position he held from 1960 to 1973 – as well as his close friendships with Johnny and his wife June Carter, and his strained family life with Jonathan and his younger brother Joshua. Packed wall-to-wall with filing boxes stuffed with meticulously-kept written documentation, personal letters, photographs, print articles, telegrams, memorabilia and – what surely must have been a mind-blowing discovery for his son – audio tapes that included both Saul’s recorded phone conversations with Cash and others, as well as Saul’s insightful, deeply personal audio diaries.

Realizing he has discovered not only his father’s hidden life story, but also a treasure of Behind the Music-style grit on Johnny Cash that wasn’t even addressed in the Oscar-winning Biopic, Walk The Line, Jonathan Holiff began painstakingly creating this fascinating documentary with a very unique insider’s viewpoint.

Jonathan and Johnny
Jonathan as a Child with Johnny Cash

Although an ultimate goal of seeing this project through to completion was achieving closure for himself regarding his troubled relationship with his Dad, Holiff also succeeds in producing an fascinating and authentic snap shot of American life in the ‘60s and ‘70s (such a great time to be alive!), an insider’s look at the music business of those decades and a terrific “dark side” companion piece to any Johnny Cash Biography.

While it must have been excruciating for Jonathan Holiff to have to hear his (obviously emotionally stunted) father confess in one recorded entry that he was basically incapable of feeling any love for him or his brother, perhaps that also allowed him to achieve a sense of compassion that transcends mere forgiveness. At the end of the day, My Father and The Man in Black goes easy on the pathos to become simply great storytelling, adding an additional human-interest angle to an entertainment industry tale that any film or music fan can engage with. Highly recommended!

My Father and The Man in Black Opens in New York City and Los Angeles on Friday, September 6th, 2013.

The Worley Gig Gives My Father and The Man in Black 4 Out of 5 Stars!

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Graham Nash Visual Harmony at Morrison Hotel Gallery

Graham Nash With MH  Gallery Logo
Graham Nash Self Portrait (All Photos By Gail)

You might recall that last October I attended an exhibit of the Amazing Artwork of musician Graham Nash, which was unbelievably impressive. Those who know the two-time R&R Hall Of Fame inductee only for this career spanning work with The Hollies and Crosby, Stills & Nash would be blown away by the diverse visual media in which Nash works: from painting to drawing to collage as well as being an expert photographer. So much talent in one person: it boggles the mind a bit.

Joni and Johnny
Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash

Narrowing the focusing a bit, Morrison Hotel Gallery is currently hosting an exhibit called Visual Harmony which showcases Nash’s mostly black and white (with a few color shots) photography from a time in the seventies when music was everything. Nash’s preferred subjects for this series are mainly his band mates (Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Neal Young) and friends or lovers (Johnny Cash, Jackson Brown, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins) whom he shoots both in candid, intimate moments and on stage. Every picture, indeed, tells a story.

CSNY In Hawaii
Cosby, Stills, Nash & Young In Hawaii 1974

I recognized quite a few shots from the previous show but there are some new ones as well. If you missed last year’s exhibit then this one is a must see. Unfortunately, the size of the crowd at last night’s opening reception kept me from getting any decent shots of Nash’s work, so don’t take these as any kind of accurate representation of his ridiculous talent.

Graham Nash In the Crowd
Graham Nash at the Opening Reception for Visual Harmony

The Morrison Hotel Gallery (Loft) is Located at 116 Prince Street in Soho, New York. For more information visit their website at Morrison Hotel Gallery Dot Com.

Color Enhanced Photo By Graham Nash
Color Enhanced Photo By Graham Nash, Subject Unknown

Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash!

Johnny Cash Portrait Young

Legendary Country singer/songwriter Johnny Cash was born on this day, February 26th, in 1932. Cash passed away of respiratory failure on September 12th, 2003, at the age of 71, just four months after the death of his wife June Carter Cash.

Gail Makes Another Guest Appearance on East Portland Blog!

Are you perhaps craving more of my Rock Critic wit and wisdom? Then cruise on over to East Portland Blog for my revealing and candid take on Live’s version of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line.” (You know, it’s the arrangement American Idol Contestant Chris Daughtry ripped off from Live and then took all the credit for!)

Wall Of Voodoo’s Debut EP Turns 30!


Image Source

On this Date in 1980: Wall Of Voodoo released its self-titled, six-track debut EP, which included the songs “Longarm,” “The Passenger,” “Granma’s House,” “Struggle,” “Can’t Make Love”— a brutally frank, confessional lament from the perspective of a player suffering from a profound inability to get casual sex – and a throbbing, atmospheric cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” that I like even better than the original. I own this release on twelve-inch vinyl and was also able to find it on CD a few years back. I’m sure you could hunt it down on iTunes or eBay if you’re unfamiliar but curious, and you should be curious, because this EP is fantastic.

Thanks to the P 5 Blogspot For The Tip!.

Gail and Jamie’s Rad Adventure at The Apollo!

Spectacle Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello Hosts Spectacle On The Sundance Channel

A few days ago – actually it was the night I returned home from my whirlwind trip to Reunionpalooza in California – I got an email from my friend Jamie inviting me to go see Elvis Costello with her at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. When I first read her email, because I was delirious and not really paying attention, I thought this would be a standard Elvis Costello concert performance. But it turned out that the show we went to last night was a taping for this program called Spectacle, which runs on the Sundance Channel. It’s a regular weekly TV series, hosted by Elvis Costello, where he interviews and performs with various iconic musicians and celebrities. Elton John is the show’s Executive Producer, which explains so much.

Apollo Marquee

Photo By Jamie Moroni

Last night was the “Build a Band” show, where an impressive selection of different musicians were introduced over the course of the two-hour taping (I believe the show runs for an hour), each one chatting with Elvis about his musical career and then performing one or more of his songs with Elvis and his longtime band, The Imposters. Elvis’s guests were singer Nick Lowe, who produced Costello’s first five albums, prolific songwriter/guitarist Richard Thompson, legendary pianist and songwriter Allen Toussaint – who has evidently written every song known to man – and the fabulous Levon Helm, drummer for The Band. Songs that I actually knew the names of included “Blame It On Cain,” which Elvis performed with the Imposters as a warm up, Allen Toussaint’s “Fortune Teller” and  “Certain Girl” (popularized by the late Warren Zevon), Nick Lowe’s “The Beast In Me” (which he wrote for Johnny Cash) and what is inarguably The Bands’ best-known song, “The Wait” for which folk singer Ray LaMontagne joined the group on vocals. Eclectic!

Going to the Apollo Theater in Harlem to see Elvis Costello tape a TV show was really fun and a very different kind of thing to do on a weeknight. Plus, Elvis is so cool and rad (Favorite Elvis Costello Song: “New Amsterdam”). He really should record books on tape for kids, because his speaking voice is just hypnotic. The Apollo Theater is gorgeous and comfy, and even though neither Jamie nor I had ever been as far uptown as 125th street, we were joking that “Harlem is just like a normal place!” because that is what we do. The “A” train back downtown was also well-air conditioned, un-crowded and really fast. I was on 14th street in about 20 minutes, and home by 11:00 PM. Last but not least, Jamie is the most hilarious person, so we had fun hanging out and acting like idiots together. Good Times.