SOLD OUT October 29, 2013: Robert Hilburn with Kris Kristofferson on Johnny Cash

johnny cash los angeles Robert Hilburn Los Angeleskris kristofferson










At the Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School, 3131 W. Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica. Immediately west of Centinela. Free Parking. Tickets, $25.

The Man in Black was Johnny Cash, an artist who defied genre. Outspoken and committed to social justice, his songs are seared into our memory. Johnny Cash was troubled, addicted, and brilliant. He influenced scores of the greatest rock, country and gospel singers of our time, and he used his stature and popularity to further social change and public good through songs with story, meaning, and contagious beat.

In his landmark book, Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn examines the evolution of The Man in Black, from a tough childhood in Depression-era rural Arkansas to his life-long drug addiction, his stardom, activism, his devotion to Christianity, and his messy, complicated family life. Hilburn reveals the depth of Johnny Cash’s firm belief that good triumphs over evil, notwithstanding the great artist’s struggles and demons.

Johnny Cash fans came from everywhere, and straddled genre upon genre. Hilburn’s book informs us that Cash sold more records than Elvis and Barbra Streisand combined, and from the Hollywood Bowl to Vegas to Folsom, Cash wowed his fans with his songs that were upbeat, activist, and sometimes evangelical. Hilburn’s book takes stock of Johnny Cash’s impact in rock, folk, gospel and country music, and he reveals the vulnerability, genius, suffering and wicked humor of the Man in Black.

Robert Hilburn graced the pages of the Los Angeles Times for about 30 years as one of the great rock critics. He not only wrote about the singer/songwriters of the 60’s and 70’s, but he developed close relationships with many artists. His friendships gave him access and insight into the lives and minds of his subjects, and this book is an amazing testament to scholarship, elegy and truth about an icon of our era.

Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash go way back. They were friends, and they sang each other’s songs. With Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson , they performed together as The Highwaymen. Johnny Cash recorded some Kristofferson songs, such as Sunday Morning Comin’ Down. We love Kris Kristofferson for so many reasons—for Me and Bobby McGee, for Help Me Make it Through The Night, for a thousand great songs. Some of us hear the name Kris Kristofferson and want to belt out Me and Bobby McGee, his voice as our guide. His songs have been recorded for decades by dozens of great vocalists, who reinterpret them time and again. On top of his phenomenal success as a songwriter and performer, Kristofferson has enjoyed a successful acting career as well.

Photos from program: Dyanne Cano