Times are tough. At least that’s what a lot of people have been saying lately.

Of couse there’s nothing quite like a little Johnny Cash retrospective to set your mind right again.

Your times won’t seem so tough after a heart-wrenching rendition of “Give My Love to Rose.”

And that’s part of the inspiration behind Johnny Cash Night at Space Gallery on Wednesday. The Johnny Cash-centric event is part tribute, part fundraiser. While local musicians fill the night with covers — from the barn burners to the tear jerkers — attendees will raise funds for prison literacy programs with a $5 to $15 donation at the door.

The event at Space marks the fourth and final Johnny Cash Night in a three-state series that began April 8 in Rhode Island. Jenn Harrington, the event’s organizer and a volunteer at the Nave Gallery in Somerville, Mass., thought Johnny Cash was just the man we needed to lift our collective spirits.

“People just seem so unhappy,” Harrington said. “I thought, ‘What could make people happy?’ and, well, Johnny Cash can.”


She also wanted to go tri-state, enlisting venues in Portland and Providence. And at each location, local musicians were roped in.

Here in Maine, Cash’s music will find itself in the competent hands of Portland musicians Christopher Teret, Jesse Pilgrim and the Bonfire (with special guests) and Caleb Aaron and the Thrill Pills.

The performances will span Cash’s discography — Teret starting things off with Cash’s soulful, gospel side; Pilgrim and guests tackling those influential classics and Aaron rounding things out with the old rockabilly stuff.

Getting decked out in your best Johnny Cash black isn’t required, but it sure is encouraged.

Coincidentally, Space is also exhibiting, “All the Fame of Lofty Deeds,” featuring the artwork of Jon Langford. A founding member of British punk band the Mekons and Chicago alt-country outfit the Waco Brothers, Langford also happens to be a talented painter who melds publicity portraits of music giants — like Bob Wills, Hank Williams and, you guessed it, Johnny Cash — with imagery pulled from folk art.

The Johnny Cash admiration will be on full display — and proceeds from the event benefit Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents, a library and literacy program at the jail in Ellsworth.


It’s an obvious choice, said Harrington, when you’re talking about the man who recorded “At Folsom Prison.” And on Wednesday we can all let that lonesome whistle blow our blues away.

Shannon Bryan can be reached at 822-4056 or at:



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