50th anniversary of johnny cash's "at folsom prison"


Danny Wilson and Tracy Schlapp created FOLSOM50 with their band Luther's Boots to commemorate Johnny Cash’s legendary prison concerts. The performance resonates with Cash’s belief in reinvention, his own redemption — a biographical thread that ran through all of Cash’s catalog. Rather than replicating the shows, Luther’s Boots reinterprets Cash’s music and styling by drawing from Cash’s ability to transmit the emotional complexity of hillbilly music. The songs from the At Folsom Prison live recording have been styled by the band with an ear to contemporary audiences. During 2018, Luther’s Boots will perform a series of concerts in Oregon prisons.

May 20, 2018, Luther's Boots will perform a Portland-area benefit show to help fund the tour, it includes supper and special guests. Tickets are available for folks on the outside at Mississippi Studios:


 Luther's Boots in rehearsal at Lake Oswego School of Rock. A huge thank you to Jon and Kathy who generously donated practice space.

Luther's Boots in rehearsal at Lake Oswego School of Rock. A huge thank you to Jon and Kathy who generously donated practice space.


The project started with a thought on a summer day: I would like to play At Folsom Prison start to finish to mark the 50th anniversary of the record. Response: That would be really interesting if you did it in prison. Tinder ignited! As it turns out, folks light up when you mention Johnny Cash. The band came together, prisons were interested, grants written (with results hanging in the balance), and the lovely Polaris Hall in NE Portland is made available to help raise funds for a tour.

Good ideas become great ideas through hard work and collaboration. The band has worked tirelessly to find a way to both engage with the musical heritage and find their place in the songs. There is no imitating his voice, rather, it is bringing the spirit to life through intentions. What would Johnny do? Well, he might smile a little wryly. 

 image by Daniel Duford, 2017

image by Daniel Duford, 2017


FOLSOM50 Co-producer, Tracy Schlapp is writing three interconnected essays that will unfold during the year of rehearsals and performances with the band Luther’s Boots. The essays will be made available in show programs. 

Part 1: Music, looks closely at the event of prison concerts and the music from the At Folsom Prison as an event, contextualizing it through Cash's biography, his own writing, and the songs themselves.    

The Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Community Foundation have provided a generous grant to publish a limited-edition booklet to help document the project. It will be available for sale in the fall of 2018.

 Image by cumbersome multiples, 2017

Image by cumbersome multiples, 2017


People who know Nashville's Ryman Auditorium (the mother church and home of the Grand Ole Opry) know Hatch Show Print. For over 100 years, this letterpress shop has been using movable type and hand-carved images to sell tickets to events — think rock stars to wrestlers, musicians, and magicians. Cumbersome Multiples has created letterpress postcards, posters, and even show programs to further the legacy. Work is available for sale to help raise funds for the Oregon State Prison tour.