Across all imaginable borders, Johnny Cash fans show the appeal of a thoroughly American performer who simultaneously inspires people worldwide. A young Norwegian shows off his Johnny Cash tattoo. A Canadian vlogger sings “I Walk the Line” to camel herders in Egypt’s White Desert. A shopkeeper in Northern Ireland plays Cash as his constant soundtrack. A Dutchwoman coordinates the activities of Cash fans worldwide and is subsequently offered the privilege of sleeping in Johnny’s bedroom. And on a more global scale, millions of people watch Cash’s videos online, then express themselves through commentary and debate.
In Johnny Cash International, Hinds and Silverman examine digital and real-world fan communities and the individuals who comprise them, profiling their relationships to Cash and each other. Studying Johnny Cash’s international fans and their love for the man reveals new insights about music, fandom, and the United States.
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“Johnny Cash International gives us a vibrant window into a fandom that is transnational and translocal, one that Silverman and Hinds beautifully analyze as a text just as they provide deeper contexts for the ongoing legacy of the Man in Black around the world. Their fascinating book shows how fans create community, whether digitally or in person, with their own exuberant creativity and meaning.”—Leigh H. Edwards, author, Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity
“Where is Cashland? The answer: nearly everywhere. Michael Hinds and Jonathan Silverman survey Johnny Cash fandom from YouTube comments to tattoos, from pilgrimages in the American South to a classroom in Portugal. Blending documentary, ethnography, and fieldwork, the authors discover an international ‘signifier of sanity’ whose iconicity transcends race, class, geography, and politics. ‘Life and love go on, let the music play,’ the Man in Black once said. In this unique and insightful book, Hinds and Silverman discover just how far that music goes.”—Joe Bonomo, author, Field Recordings from the Inside: Essays
“In Johnny Cash International, Michael Hinds and Jonathan Silverman show how Johnny Cash fans, through their creative use of technology, formation of tribute bands, globetrotting tourism, and whatever the next thing coming might be, built international cultures through the sounds and images created of Johnny Cash.”—Barbara Ching, author, Wrong’s What I Do Best: Hard Country Music and Contemporary Culture
Winner - 2023 Peggy O'Brien Book Prize