GRITtv: A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Antonino D'Ambrosio on Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash isn't necessarily the first person to come to mind when one thinks about 60s protest music. Yet in his new book, A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, Antonino D'Ambrosio connects Cash to the tradition of folk and political music in America, from Woody Guthrie to Pete Seeger to Bob Dylan and the 60s scene. At the peak of his fame, just after "Ring of Fire," Cash cut a record of songs about the Native American experience, many written by the now-forgotten songwriter Peter La Farge. D'Ambrosio joined us in the GRITtv studio to talk about the history of protest music, the myth of Johnny Cash, and why music is one of the best ways to carry a progressive message. Then, in a special performance, he was joined by Anthony Roman and David Milone of the band Radio 4 to perform Cash's song "Apache Tears" live.

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GRITtv with Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders talks to creative thinkers and change-makers from the worlds of politics, arts and the new economy. The smartest conversations, with the smartest thinkers and doers of our time, distributed in multiple formats on a variety of platforms. Keep abreast of fresh content by following GRITtv, the site Flanders founded, on Twitter @GRITtv.