Bristol, Va.-Tenn. (Sept. 22, 2022) – Gene Beley, one of the journalists who covered Johnny Cash’s historic concerts at Folsom Prison, will share his experiences with the iconic country music artist at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Historic Downtown Bristol on September 29 at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The talk is complementary programming to the special exhibit 1968: A Folsom Redemption on display now at the museum through October 20.
It was early January 1968 when Gene Beley and Dan Poush, a writer-photographer team working for the Star Free Press out of Ventura, California, and national magazine freelancers, were invited to go to Folsom Prison. Beley notes: “In those days, before the At Folsom Prison album changed the singer’s life, our newspaper tended to write only negative stories about Cash. His own infamy had begun to overshadow the musical accomplishments of his earlier years; in short, Cash’s career was truly on the skids at that time.”
Though Johnny Cash was the star of the show and his visit to Folsom Prison was hugely impactful to his career, the concert was also the story of supporting players – from the connections laid by his good friend, Reverend Floyd Gressett, to the adventurous nature of Columbia Records’ maverick A&R man Bob Johnston, to the calming influence of June Carter (not yet Cash), to the meaningful contributions of Folsom Prison inmate Glen Sherley, whose song “Greystone Chapel” ended up on the album.
Gene Beley and Dan Poush sold their photo rights to the J. R. Cash Trust in order to preserve that moment in time for future generations. Gene will share memories, photos, personal stories, and audio clips from that fateful weekend, giving attendees behind-the-scenes access to Johnny Cash’s redemptive visit to Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968, along with other successful concerts in 1968 and 1969.
Tickets to the Gene Beley event are $15 plus tax/fees, and ticket holders may participate in a curator-led tour of the 1968: A Folsom Redemption special exhibit for free 6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. prior to the program, which begins at 7:00 p.m. There will also be an audience Q&A after Mr. Beley’s talk.
For tickets and more information about the Gene Beley talk at the museum, visit the Events page at BirthplaceOfCountryMusic.org.