Today: the Stockton connection to the new Johnny Cash Trail, and the Folsom Prison Museum.
The city of Folsom is opening segments of a 4-mile hiking and biking trail from Folsom Lake to Folsom Prison, where Johnny Cash recorded an album in 1968.
Along the trail, eight large public art pieces will create a “world-class linear public art experience” celebrating Cash and his ties to Folsom Prison, the trail website says.
Art lingo aside, the trail will traverse the grounds of Folsom Prison, the first time in American history that’s been allowed. So that ought to be interesting.
Also interesting is the contribution of Stockton’s Gene Beley. As reported before, Beley befriended Cash in the 1960s while working as Ventura newspaper reporter. So Cash let him into the prison concert, along with photographer Dan Poush.
“The city will be using our photos, plus an interview I did with John Cash, March 1, 1969 in Anaheim, and two videos of John’s daughters, Cindy and Rosanne Cash, when they spoke at the (trail) groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies,” Beley writes.
Folks on the trail will be able to wave a smartphone at some of the displays to see the video, Beley said.
Beley also supplies Poush’s photos for the Folsom Prison Museum, properly (if long-windedly) called the Retired Correctional Peace Officers Museum at Folsom State Prison.
It’s in a former house just outside the East Gate, the prison’s iconic granite tower. Cash photos get their own room. Director Jim Brown says tourists from all over snap them up.
“People love Johnny Cash,” Brown said. “I get ’em from China in there, all over.”
Recently, “People from Australia — as soon as they saw them, ‘Ooh, gotta have this one! Gotta have that one!’ ” Brown said.
Asian tourists stand outside the East Gate with arms akimbo, replicating the pose Johnny Cash struck for a Poush photo on sale inside, Brown said.
Poush’s photos continue to be ordered by such diverse buyers as the South China Morning Post and Encyclopedia Britannica. But, Beley said, the trail is special.
“We are really proud that we can contribute to the history in this manner,” Beley said.
— Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/fitzgeraldblog and on Twitter@Stocktonopolis.