Abstract

Through critical analysis of Johnny Cash’s songs, performances, and writings, I attempt to tune in his understanding of indigeneity, Indian-Settler relations, and his own real and imagined Native relations. Situated within historical and contemporary cultural and sonic contexts, Cash’s Indian Country soundscape is saturated with real and imagined sounds of Indian and Settler from the physical and musical geographies of Indian Country. Indian Country music, a fluid and collective identifier for Country songs penned and performed by Natives and non-Natives, includes representations of Native Peoples, indigenous homelands, and Native-Settler relations. As I argue, Cash embodies his soundscape’s tensions by singing and sounding ambivalently about Indian-Settler relations in accordance with his Indian relations and claims. In conjunction with his corresponding claims and eventual denial as “Indian,” I follow Cash’s soundscape through a map of his songs’ Indian-Settler dualisms, namely interconflictual duel-ities over contested landscapes in his early songs (1957–1965) and interdependent dualities in subsequent compositions (1968–1975).

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6490
Print ISSN
0003-0678
Pages
pp. 591-617
Launched on MUSE
2011-09-15
Open Access
No
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