LOST HIGHWAY RECORDS
“GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN”
December 7, 2006
Hello once again my friends, it’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo. Today it’s our great honor to be working once again with Lost Highway to bring you the newest clip from a monumental figure in American music: Johnny Cash. The Man in Black really needs no introduction, but it’s worth remembering that while he first made his name as a country singer, his influence over contemporary rock, folk, and devotional music was immense as well. Americana and roots-rock would still have existed if it weren’t for Johnny Cash, but it would be nowhere near as interesting, as varied, as fatalistic, or as moving as it is. Millions of fans around the world found solace and comfort in Cash’s grim and desperate storytelling, and for other artists, his unflinching honesty has always been an inspiration.
Tony Kaye’s remarkable clip for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”, the lead single from American V: A Hundred Highways, Cash’s final collaboration with Rick Rubin, is simultaneously an industry tribute, a heartfelt goodbye, and a very personal thank-you note. The famous faces you’ll see in this video are, by and large, those of people who’ve reached the pinnacle of the entertainment business. But they’re all still writers and poets first, sensitive and susceptible to Johnny Cash’s powerful imagery; and many of them knew and worked with the legend. So when Bono, Chris Rock, Sheryl Crow, Brian Wilson, Jay-Z, Anthony Kiedis, Q-Tip, Johnny Depp, Dennis Hopper, and about twenty others turn to the camera and mouth the words to “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”, or just deliver a stare that communicates a deep understanding, they’re doing more than singing along. They’re finding their inner Johnny Cash: the spirit inside them that’s stared into the darkness and emerged with a story to tell the world.
Those who’ve followed the tale of the Man in Black know that even at the very beginning – when he was scoring hits with timeless songs like “I Walk The Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues” – Cash always wanted to cut gospel records. In retrospect, it’s easy to see that all of his work was struggling toward a relationship with the Almighty; just like Bob Dylan, he was a magnificent spiritual poet long before his formal conversion. The traditional reading of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” is not far removed in sound and feel from Cash’s earliest songs. It’s a cautionary tale, and a statement of humility – and it’s a highlight of American V: A Hundred Highways, an album recorded shortly before his passing at the age of 71.
Directed in crisp black and white, the “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” clip gives a few seconds of screen time to a dazzling array of superstars. The lens lingers over the faces just long enough to prompt recognition – then Kaye’s camera cuts away to the next penitent, or dives into a wide-open iris. At times, the frame shakes a bit, and in conjunction with Cash’s growl, it’s a metaphor for instability, the ephemerality of fame, and the fear of oblivion that everybody feels, no matter how famous. But the brief performances alone speak volumes: rarely have these entertainers looked so serious, or so stern, or so stricken with their own mortality. The clip is filled with images of death: Evanescence’s Amy Lee on a walk through the cemetery, Keith Richards’s skull-ring, Woody Harrelson’s dive into a baptismal font, a duct-taped cross on the snare drum. Finally, it’s Rick Rubin himself who emerges from a vintage limousine (along with Owen Wilson) and tosses a bouquet of funeral flowers over the side of a cliff.
Having the opportunity to promote the Johnny Cash “Hurt” video in early 2003 still stands out as our proudest moment here at HIP. It truly is our greatest pleasure to work once again with Retta Harvey Hatfield and the Lost Highway crew to bring you this phenomenal music statement from one of the true legends of our time. We’re confident you’ll agree and give the “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” video the attention it so rightfully deserves within your programming. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at info@HIPVideoPromo.com . You can also visit www.LostHighwayRecords.com to find out more about Johnny Cash.
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For info about Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” video, click HERE