Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: 50 Years Later

Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of a landmark concert that revived his music career, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: 50 Years Later is a collection of photographs and memories of two journalists lucky enough to be among a handful of eyewitnesses to the historic concerts. This candid and personal photography exhibition covers a critical juncture in the career of one of the twentieth century’s most beloved performers.

In January 1968, Johnny Cash was at a crossroads. His music career, in a slow decline for several years, was in need of a smash hit. He had recently straightened out his personal life, and leadership changes at his record label meant he was able to finally convince them of the merits of a live recording in a prison setting. Cash had been performing for inmates as far back as 1957, when he received a stream of requests from prisoners who identified with the man who sang “Folsom Prison Blues.” This connection developed with prisoners during these concerts had made him increasingly sympathetic to those he would later call “the downtrodden.”

Working as freelance journalistsphotographer Dan Poush and writer Gene Beley met with Cash and his family the day before the concerts began, at the invitation of Reverend Floyd Gressett, a friend of Cash’s who ministered to inmates and helped set up the show at Folsom State Prison with Recreation Director Lloyd Kelley. After practicing the set with the Tennessee Three at Hotel El Rancho the night before, on January 13, 1968, Cash, along with opening acts Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers, performed two separate shows in the dining hall at Folsom. Notable for capturing Cash’s ability to connect with his audience, the recordings crackled with the excitement of an adoring crowd. The resulting album, At Folsom Prison, was released four months later to critical and popular acclaim.

Beley’s first-person account of those days, and his knowledge of the storylines at work behind the scenes, make this a fascinating exploration of the little-known aspects of a well-known event in popular culture. Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: 50 Years Later takes the viewer right into the heart of this pivotal moment in the life and career of one of the twentieth century’s most important and cherished musical personalities.

For the first time ever, this travelling road show collection of thirty-three photos features a wide range of intimate photos with friends and family to a backstage meeting with country music legend Merle Haggard with the Man in Black. This exhibition highlights Cash’s golden era from January 1968 Folsom prison album recording to a March 1, 1969 concert in Anaheim California when he was getting ready to launch is network television show.

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Tour Schedule

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison is touring June 2019 through May 2024. The dates below reflect seven-week exhibition periods. Dates are subject to change; please contact MoreArt@maaa.org or (800) 473-3872 x208/209 for current availability.

  • June 16–August 11, 2019 Temple Railroad and Heritage Center
    Temple, TX
    pending
  • September 1–October 20, 2019 Denton County Historical Museum
    Denton, TX
    pending
  • November 10, 2019–January 7, 2020 Laurel County Public Library
    London, KY
    pending
  • January 28–March 16, 2020 Pulaski Tech
    Little Rock, AR
    pending
  • April 6–May 25, 2020
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2020 Moses Lake Museum and Art Center
    Moses Lake, WA
    pending
  • September 1–October 20, 2020 Fullerton Museum Center
    Fullerton, CA
    pending
  • November 10, 2020–January 7, 2021 Sioux City Public Museum
    Sioux City, IA
    pending
  • January 28–March 16, 2021 Hoover Presidential Library
    West Branch, IA
    pending
  • April 6–May 25, 2021
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2021 Refurbishment
    Kansas City, MO
    booked
  • September 1–October 20, 2021
    available
  • November 10, 2021–January 7, 2022 West Baton Rouge Museum
    Port Allen, LA
    pending
  • January 28–March 16, 2022
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2022
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2022
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2022
    available
  • November 10, 2022–January 7, 2023 Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanites
    Texarkana, TX
    pending
  • January 28–March 16, 2023
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2023
    available
  • June 16–August 11, 2023
    available
  • September 1–October 20, 2023
    available
  • November 10, 2023–January 7, 2024
    available
  • January 28–March 16, 2024
    available
  • April 6–May 25, 2024
    available

Exhibition Details

32 photographs by Dan Poush and Gene Beley and 2 works of ephemera

  • Content

    Fee Includes
    Press Kit
    Registrar’s Packet
    Programming Guide
    Gallery Guide
    Text Panels
    Narrative Labels
    Full Insurance
    Installation Instructions
    Custom-Designed and Built Crates

  • Curated By

  • Organized By

    ExhibitsUSA, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Kansas City, MO

  • Out-of-Region Rental Fee

    $3200

  • In-Region Rental Fee

    $2520

  • Duration

    7-week display

  • Shipping

    Common Carrier

  • Running Feet

    150 minimum

  • Square Feet

    -

  • Security

    Limited

  • Number of Crates/Total Weight

    3 crates estimated/ TBD weight

  • Insurance

    The exhibition is fully insured by ExhibitsUSA at no additional expense to you, both while installed and during transit.