Former vice president Al Gore has been added to the lineup of luminaries celebrating the life and career of the late Johnny Cash. The Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute: A Celebration of Friends and Family is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Monday (Nov. 10). The concert will be televised Saturday (Nov. 15) from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT on CMT.
The Fisk Jubilee Singers, who sang at Cash’s funeral on Sept. 15, will open the concert with the hymn “Ain’t No Grave Going to Hold My Body Down.” Cash’s brother Tommy will welcome the capacity crowd in the Ryman and introduce the evening’s host, actor and Cash friend Tim Robbins.
Others honoring the life and music of the Man in Black are Brooks & Dunn, Kid Rock, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Steve Earle, Larry Gatlin, Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Travis Tritt, Jimmy Tittle, Jim Clement and Johnny Western. Williams will also take part in a tribute of the Highwaymen tribute, along with Nelson, Kristofferson and an as-yet-unannounced musical guest. Other surprise guests are expected as well. Taped tributes were sent by Bono, Dan Rather, Whoopi Goldberg and others. The members of the Cash and Carter family will close the evening by singing “We’ll Meet Again,” which Cash recorded on his last album, American IV: The Man Comes Around.
Half of the Ryman’s 2,200 seats went by public draw to fans; the other seats are for family and friends. Press facilities are located in the neighboring Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
Born in Kingsland, Ark., in 1932, Cash is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. He learned to play guitar while serving in the United States Air Force and began his music career in Memphis, Tenn., with “Hey Porter,” recorded for Sun Records. In 1956, he recorded one of his signature hits, “Folsom Prison Blues.” Awarded 12 Grammy awards during his 42-year music career, Cash also won three CMA awards on Wednesday (Nov. 5). He died Sept. 12 at the age of 71, from complications of diabetes.