Even though Johnny Cash began writing songs at the age of 12, it wasn’t until he moved to Memphis and showed up unannounced for an audition at Sun Studio that his music took off. Today we know him as the “the Man in Black.” His Pathway is an opportunity to stand where he stood and imagine the life experiences that inspired a music icon.
Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two Historical Marker
Johnny Cash moved to Memphis in 1954 and formed an after-work gospel group with two auto mechanics, Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant. The trio played their first concert at what was then the Galloway United Methodist Church after a postal worker, who was a member of the church, overheard them and urged his wife to invite them to perform at her fundraiser.
Johnny Cash Statue
You can find this commemorative statue just a few feet away from where Cash played his first gig at Galloway Church in 1954. Only 22 at the time and working as a door-to-door appliance salesman, Johnny and his band played gospel music and several Christmas songs for a small audience in the ground-floor room.
In 1954, Cash, Perkins and Grant made a visit to the studio to ask for an audition. Producer Sam Phillips’ feedback was for the group to drop the hymnals and come back with a tune of its own. Cash wrote “Hey Porter,” and later “Cry, Cry, Cry.” Less than a year later, "Cry, Cry, Cry" peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard charts. Sun Studio now functions as a museum by day and a studio at night for those who want its authentic analog sound.
Saturday Night Jamboree Historical Marker
From 1953 to 1954, the Goodwyn Institute Building Auditorium was home to a live country music show called "The Saturday Night Jamboree." Among the artists who appeared were Barbara Pittman, Charlie Feathers, Eddie Bond, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Johnny and Dorsey Burnett.
Two months after releasing “I Walk the Line,” Cash made his Grand Ole Opry debut at the Ryman Auditorium in 1956. It’s where he first met June Carter, and where he chose to host and tape “The Johnny Cash Show,” featuring guests including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, and more. Today, visitors can tour a themed dressing room and display in his honor.
Johnny Cash Museum
Nestled in the heart of Nashville, the Johnny Cash Museum gives fans a chance to connect with the man, the music and the life of the legendary artist. Ranked the No. 1 music museum by the National Geographic Traveler and Forbes, it boasts the largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia.
Hendersonville Memory Gardens
Just a week before his death in 2003, Cash wrapped up his final track. He is buried in Hendersonville Memory Gardens along with June Carter Cash, Ferlin Husky, Jean Shepard, Merle Kilgore, Mother Maybelle and many more.
Storytellers Museum & Hideaway Farm
When Johnny Cash needed to escape from life in the public eye, Hideaway Farm is one of the places he went. Explore the farm where CBS Sunday Morning once interviewed The Man in Black.
Johnny Cash Mural
“The Wall of Cash,” one of the first Johnny Cash murals in Nashville, was painted by Audie Adams, Bryan Deese and Ryan Shrader after Cash’s death in 2003.
Berry Hill Fence Mural 1
Scott Guion also features Cash in a mural he completed just after Cash’s death. "Berry Hill Fence Mural 1" honors the legacy of musical icons in rock ’n’ roll, country, bluegrass and more.
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The Carter Family - consisting of A.P., his wife Sara and his sister-in-law Maybelle - recorded their first album as a part of the Bristol Sessions in 1927. These recordings set into motion a career that would take the Carter Family to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Cash listened to Opry from his home in Dyess, Arkansas and would eventually be drawn to the famous Ryman stage himself where he met June Carter. The Birthplace of Country Music Music shares the rich story of the landmark recording sessions and their profound influence. Cash later called the Bristol Sessions, “The most important event in the history of country music.”
The Overton Park Shell is one of the Mid-South's most enchanting venues for free, outdoor live concerts. Having recently undergone extensive renovations, this historic performing arts center has been the backdrop for many iconic performers, including a young Johnny Cash who took the stage as an opening act for Elvis Pressley in 1955.