'The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash' takes Man in Black to new places, and it's free on YouTube

Chris Jordan, Asbury Park Press
'The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash' takes Man in Black to new places, and it's free on YouTube
'The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash' takes Man in Black to new places, and it's free on YouTube

It's Johnny Cash like few have seen him.

“The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” is streaming free on YouTube. The YouTube Originals documentary presents newly discovered Cash archival materials and interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Robert Duvall, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam and family members Rosanne Cash and John Carter Cash.

“The Gift” is director by longtime Springsteen collaborator Thom Zimny ("Elvis Presley: The Searcher," "Springsteen on Broadway").

“As a filmmaker, you always hope to uncover things that will drive the story to new places,” Zimny says via email. “This film was a treasure trove of lost home movies, audio interviews, and uncovered archival footage and photographs. Through these elements, we were able to present a side of Cash that has never been seen before.”

Related: How HBO's 'Elvis Presley: The Searcher' rethinks the second half of the singer's career

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.

The highs and lows are here, and the whys and wherefores, from his addiction to prescription pills to triumphs like “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison” and his later-period recordings with Rick Rubin.

There's also a look at his activism for Native American rights, and his overall standing with the underdog.

“My mother said, ‘God has his hand on you,’ ” Cash says in the documentary. “ ‘Don't ever forget the gift.' ”

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This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: 'The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash' is streaming free on YouTube