The Johnny Cash 84th Birthday
                    Bash at The Hall at MP Brooklyn

Johnny Cash

Johnny "J.R." Cash was born on February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas. He grew up singing along with his family while working in the cotton fields. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Cash moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where his brother Roy introduced him to guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant who would be dubbed the Tennessee Two by Sun Records producer Sam Philips upon signing Cash in 1955.

In 1958, Cash left the label to sign with Columbia Records. After his eighth record for the label, I Walk The Line went to number one in 1963, Cash followed this success by recording Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian. Cash wrote three of the songs himself and one with the help of Johnny Horton. Five of the songs were written by folk artist Peter LaFarge, whom Cash met in New York.

Johnny Cash - Bitter
                          Tears: Ballads of the American Indian

The album's single, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” was neglected by radio at the time, with even Columbia Records denying it any promotion due to its provocative nature. In reaction, on August 22, 1964, Cash posted a letter as an advertisement in Billboard Magazine, calling the record industry cowardly. “D.J.’s ― station managers ― owners...where are your guts?” he demands. “I had to fight back when I realized that so many stations are afraid of Ira Hayes. Just one question: WHY???” He concludes the letter, “Ira Hayes is strong medicine.... So is Rochester, Harlem, Birmingham and Vietnam.”  Cash kept promoting the song himself and used his influence on radio disc jockeys he knew to make the song climb to number three on the country charts, while the album rose to number two on the album charts. Cash was later adopted into the Turtle Clan of the Seneca Nation and given the name “Ha-gao-ta” (Story Teller.)

After the success of At Folsom Prison (1968) and At San Quentin (1969), Cash returned to the studio to record Hello, I'm Johnny Cash in 1970.  "If I Were a Carpenter", a famous duet with Cash's wife, June Carter Cash, earned the couple a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1971; the song also reached No. 2 on the Country charts. The album also includes "To Beat the Devil", the first Kris Kristofferson song covered by Cash. "See Ruby Fall”, co-written with Roy Orbison and "Blistered" were also released as singles, and the album itself reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 6 on the pop charts. It was certified Gold on 1/29/1970 by the R.I.A.A.

Johnny Cash - Hello,
                          I'm Johnny Cash

On September 12, 2003, Johnny Cash passed away at the age of 71. In all, he had recorded ninety six albums, and been inducted into the Halls of Fame for Country, Rock ’N’ Roll, and Gospel Music.


The Johnny Cash 84th Birthday Bash will take place on Friday, February 26, 2016 and Saturday, February 27, 2016 at The Hall at MP Brooklyn, 470 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211. For the 12th time since 2005, Alex Battles presents a celebration of the music of the Man in Black backed by The Whisky Rebellion with special guests Miss Linda Hill and the Dock Oscar Gospel Quartet. Both evenings will feature a full slate of Johnny Cash hits following complete live album performances of Hello, I’m Johnny Cash (Friday night) and Bitter Tears (Saturday night).

“The Johnny Cash Birthday Bash. Lowbrow. Brilliant.”  -New York Magazine


Alex Battles grew up listening to Johnny Cash in Ohio. He started performing solo at open mike nights in New York City in 1999.

Battles’ first Johnny Cash tribute show took place a week after the death of the Man In Black. In 2004, Battles started the monthly CasHank Hootenanny Jamboree, a jam for amateur strummers of classic country hits. In 2005, Battles organized his first Johnny Cash Birthday Bash at Lillie’s in Red Hook with the help of The Lonesome Prairie Dogs, organizers of another New York City country tradition, the annual New Year’s Day Hank-O-Rama.

In 2006, the Johnny Cash Birthday Bash moved to Southpaw, where Battles met The Old Perfesser, a train-driving native of Brooklyn who had spent his youth learning all of Luther Perkins licks on guitar. Battles enlisted The Old Perfesser into The Whisky Rebellion and they have collaborated on each edition since 2007.


Miss Linda Hill is a writer, performer, singer, and songwriter who has performed with Minnie Pearl, George Carlin, and Robin Williams. She regularly performs in New York City with her band, The Lucky Fellers.