Country music patriarch Johnny Cash, the "Man in Black," has walked the line between rock and country since his early days as a rockabilly singer. Johnny Cash's songs' characteristic marching bass lines have influenced Waylon Jennings and others, while his deep, quavery baritone growl has become a trademark. A preeminent songwriter, Cash has been courted over the years by rock's elite, beginning with Dylan in the '60s.
Johnny Cash was a towering figure in 20th century American music, a minimalist with a booming Old Testament baritone who could wrench an abundance of power from stark settings. At first Cash was backed by guitar and bass; in the end it was simply guitar. But when a voice can tell a story with as much resonance as Cash's could, not much else is needed.