black and white portrait of Johnny Cash looking into the camera

Annual Music Masters

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Case Western Reserve University will honor one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Johnny Cash, during the 21st Annual Music Masters™ series, presented by Klipsch Audio.

The “Man in Black,” who influenced not only his fellow country musicians, but also rockers from Bob Dylan to Trent Reznor, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. The weeklong celebration, October 17 to 22, 2016, will include the Annual Music Masters concert on Friday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre. 

Grammy-winning producer, author and singer, John Carter Cash will serve as executive bandleader of the 21st Annual Music Masters concert.  Alongside John Carter Cash, keyboardist Tony Harrell will serve as the band director. Harrell, a veteran studio musician has laid down tracks for Johnny Cash and country royalty Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr. and Ray Price. He’s also appeared on many top records and recorded with such superstars as Vince Gill, Taylor Swift, Sheryl Crow, and dozens others.

Acts & artists scheduled to appear:

  • Sam Bush
  • Paul Cauthen
  • Ana Cristina
  • Ira Dean
  • Nikki Lane
  • Terry McBride
  • Bill Miller
  • The Oak Ridge Boys
  • Charlie Worsham,
  • Mike Ness of Social Distortion
  • Eilen Jewell
  • L.A. punk band X
  • WS Holland


Tickets for the 21st Annual Music Masters Concert (range from $30-$100) are available now at the Playhouse Square box office, by calling (216) 241-6000, or by visiting

The weeklong series of fan events begin on Monday, October 17 and will feature interviews, panels and educational programs, including a kickoff event at Case Western Reserve University.

Fans looking to get their Cash fix now can ‘Walk the Line’ to his tour bus at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now through the end of October. The “Man in Black’s” 40-foot ebony and silver rolling sanctuary, dubbed “J.C. Unit One,” transported Cash and his wife June, along with a cast of characters that came together for various tours, including the 1991 Highwayman Tour with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. Throughout his career, Cash's travels informed the inspired candor of his songwriting and quite literally took his music cross-country, putting more than 1 million miles on the bus. Tours on the bus are included with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame admission.

Each year, the Music Masters series explores the legacy of one of those pioneering figures in a range of events that includes Museum exhibits, lectures, films, a major conference and a tribute concert benefiting the Rock Hall’s education department. Drawing together music experts, artists, fans and friends, these events aim to provide new perspectives on some of the most beloved and influential musicians of the past century. The Music Masters series began in 1996 when the museum paid tribute to Woody Guthrie with a 10-day celebration of his life and legacy. Other honorees include Aretha Franklin, Muddy Waters, Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, Janis Joplin, Jimmie Rodgers and more. 

“We are so grateful that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is honoring Johnny Cash for the 2016 Annual Music Masters series. Our father remains one of the most enduring names in entertainment history, and this recognition helps further his legacy and inspire both existing fans as well as a whole new generation of Johnny Cash fans.” 

John Carter Cash