A yearlong celebration of Johnny Cash's legacy will come to an end this week with the issue of a new postal stamp and free public concert.
The new Johnny Cash Forever stamp goes on sale Wednesday and to celebrate Cash's son, John Carter Cash, and several friends and family members will gather at Ryman Auditorium. The stamp is based around a promotional shot for the 1963 album "Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash." To Cash it looks like a 45 or 78 RPM record cover and is unlike the usual offerings — matching his father's legacy.
"It just truly embodies my father's spirit, who he was," Cash said. "It's different. That's one thing: It stands out to me as being unique. It's very commanding when you see the stamp."
Wednesday's concert features Cash family members, including the late singer's brother and sister, Tommy Cash and Joanne Cash Yates, and friends Randy Travis, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and The Oak Ridge Boys. Jamey Johnson and The Roys also are scheduled to perform.
The limited-edition stamp, part of the U.S. Postal Service's Music Icon Series, will be on sale at the concert and at the Country Music Association Festival later this week.
A decade after his 2003 death, Cash remains a popular figure with million-dollar sales. A celebration of what would have been his 80th year started last spring and efforts to preserve his legacy continue in Nashville and his birthplace in Arkansas. The Johnny Cash Museum formally opened in downtown Nashville last week and efforts are underway to save Cash's childhood home in Dyess, Ark.
Cash said he still is contacted with stories of the effect his father had on the lives of his fans.
"He had sort of a magic and a charisma about him," Cash said. "If he walked into the room and your back was turned, you felt the change. He had that strength about him. That legacy that he began still lives on in many ways. It's still alive in the hearts of fans."