What finally got me to get the CD (used at a gaming store) was Johnny Cash's late-in-life contribution to the rather mediocre movie The Hunted, where he recited the opening lines of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," which doesn't really fit the film, but hey, it's Cash using his great, worn voice to say Dylan's words. The end credits, maybe mainly because they could, played Cash's "The Man Comes Around," which doesn't really fit the film, either, but again, not the best thought-out movie. (At least Portland looks good in it, and at least the song was used to far better effect in Dawn of the Dead and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. But I digress.)
The point is: This means I got into Cash before he died.
By half a year, but I cling to that half-year. I was too snobbish about country music for a good chunk of my life, despite listening to QUITE A LOT OF IT and liking a fair amount of it when my family lived in Camarillo, CA in the early Eighties (followed by becoming a fan of the deeply country-influenced Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits), so I wasn't listening to Cash before that. Aware of him, but that was it. (Do you remember he did a Taco Bell ad?) Loosening up about that as time went on, I finally took the easy plunge of that used CD, and "got it." Now I get why people like him, I thought at some level. At another level was this simpler thought: I like him.
Then he died. Then the tributes began. Then, because at some level I'm still a snob, I was somehow relieved that I wasn't riding in on that sudden wave. Not that that mattered to Johnny Cash himself, as we never met -- the closest we come in degrees-of-separation is that a videographer during his final few months of recording songs is the husband of a high school friend of mine -- but it mattered to me. I'd gotten into good music! On my own! I didn't need "Well-Known Person, who was Well-Known for This, has died" to direct me to something good!
My odd-ish hang-ups, let me show you them. (Isn't that the point of blogging?)
There is, of course, the benefit of getting into something on your own that makes it more likely to stick. If I had listened to Cash just because of his obituaries, would I have been focused on the music, or trying to like it because I feel obligated to like it? So there's that justification. It worked: I have his American Recordings that he did during his last few years, and the box set version of his San Quentin concert. It led me wanting to smack some Cash-dissing asshat back in November 2005. By then I'd gotten protective.
I need to be into more stuff that way. Keep trying new things. Be prompted to, and I hope not prompted to only by sad events.
Heck, if you think you know of something you think I might like trying (especially what I could likely find to borrow at the library; right now I'm acting poor), you can always tell me. I'll do my best not to be a snob about it.