You can count on the CMA Awards to always lays down a stellar tribute performance. Whether it’s a recent loss of a country music greats or just keeping their legacy alive, the Country Music Association does an excellent job of ensuring the trailblazers stay top of mind.
The Johnny Cash tribute from the 2003 awards is killer.
Willie Nelson opens up the performance with “Walk The Line.” I couldn’t think of a better artist to cover this song.
Up next, Hank Williams Jr. comes out to do “Ring Of Fire.” He bears down deep in his gut to pull out the low notes of the song.
Travis Tritt and Sheryl Crow cover Johnny and June’s tune, “Jackson,” and they lay down a beautiful duet. Their harmonies are effortless, and it’s obvious they are having fun while performing together. It gives the same charismatic feel that Johnny and June had when they performed together.
Kris Kristofferson gives a solid rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues.” This tune is one of my favorites from Cash, and Kristofferson’s version is fabulous. The heavy harmonica from the band adds a great flare.
To round out the phenomenal performance, The Nitty Gritty Band brings it home with “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” After the first verse, everyone else comes back out on the stage to help round out the tune.
The stage is filled with people who appreciate Cash’s work to the fullest extent. The performance not only highlighted some of his best hits but also showed how his work inspired his peers. To be able to take a song and make it your own when you cover it shows the song inspired you enough to find a way to incorporate your sound into it.
Here’s to the great Johnny Cash, who was, is, and will always be… a country music legend.