I know there's been a lot written about Johnny Cash since his passing, and I feel he deserves the recognition. I remember listening to my parent's Johnny Cash records as a child - all those songs about freight trains and prisons, longing and loss, hope and despair. I instinctively knew even then that the man had lived the lyrics of his songs. The sincerity and honesty of his music was something I recognized at that young age.
So when I heard that Cash had recorded a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt" quite late in his life, I couldn't wait to hear it. I'd enjoyed the NIN version, but somehow I just couldn't resonate with Trent Reznor's supposed angst; he was far too popular and successful to be the tortured soul that he was pretending to be in that song. I just didn't buy it.
Johnny Cash, on the other hand, had definitely lived that song, even though he didn't write it. It fit him so perfectly that it made complete sense for him to cover the song. There's something so incredibly sad about the way Cash sings it that still, forty-some years after I first became acquainted with his music, makes me believe him.