It sounds a bit “Jesus on toast,” but this truly is a remarkable sight: a frozen Sligo, Ireland waterfall shows an uncanny portrait of Johnny Cash frozen in time.
Johnny Cash loved Ireland, and the gorgeous country loves him back to this day. The pairing represents a full circle in music history. A distinctly American artform, country music was born of Celtic traditions and ballads brought to the ‘New World’ by Irish immigrants. It is fitting, then, that Ireland today shares a deep love of Nashville and country music today, and has for generations.
Even more fitting, all this in mind, is a photo making the rounds of the internet as March begins. Within, an uncanny, perfect portrait of Johnny Cash is frozen into a waterfall. The sight is a remarkable one and comes all the way from Sligo, Ireland. An easy prompt to shrug off, sure, but this is one you’ll buy once you see it:
This is a frozen waterfall near my home in Sligo – does anyone else see Johnny Cash in it? 😀Posted by Darren A Flynn Music on Monday, February 15, 2021
No further explanation is necessary, is it? There he is, the Man in Black himself – a hundred feet tall and frozen in ice. To this author, it further resembles the iconic image of Johnny Cash “flipping the bird” in a black and white portrait. What a sight.
Johnny Cash, Ireland, and ‘Forty Shades of Green’
Sharp Cash fans will know it, but the legend solidified his love for Ireland through song – as he did for so many things throughout his life. After visiting the Emerald Isle in the 1950s, Cash would write “40 Shades of Green,” his timeless country ballad dedicated to Ireland, it’s people, and their beauty.
In multiple interview accounts, Johnny Cash recalls writing the song in 1959. Its first release, however, came as a B-side of the song “The Rebel–Johnny Yuma” in 1961. The song would also feature on his triumphant Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash, for Columbia Records in 1963.
As much as Cash celebrated Ireland through the song, Ireland would return the favor. RTÉ, Ireland’s National Public Service Media, as extensively covered the icon’s tribute to their country. In their latest interview on the subject, RTÉ interviews John Carter Cash on his father’s deep love “for a beautiful, beautiful place and a fine, kind people.”
“He got there, he saw how beautiful it was, he saw the history that was right there to be seen,” Carter Cash beings. “And he was connected, of course, by blood, my father has Irish blood, but by heart and by the love for a beautiful, beautiful place and a fine, kind people.”
“I was in a car with a road map of Ireland in my lap…”
Within, RTÉ also includes an archival clip of Johnny Cash discussing “40 Shades of Green” for the network back in 1990. He recounts himself how the song came to be: the simplicity and beauty of his relationship with Ireland shining through.
“I was in a car with a road map of Ireland in my lap – rhyming the names, the names in Ireland just beg to be sung anyway,” Cash states. “To get the title, I guess I just looked out the window and there they were. ‘The 40 Shades of Green.’”
Can’t beat that, can you? Watch the interview for yourself below, alongside another 1988 anecdote from the legend following:
“The ‘Forty Shades of Green’ is a fine ol’ Irish melody…”
Listen to Johnny Cash further recount the history of the song backstage in Dublin, Ireland. This rarely seen interview took place in his dressing room at the city’s famous Olympia Theatre in 1988:
For more from Johnny Cash, stick with your fellow Man in Black fans at Outsider.com.