Our Gig at Folsom Prison

johnny cash playing at folsom prison, photo taken from the stage perspective
My good friend Justin Farren and I played for inmates in Folsom Prison yesterday, and it was truly awesome. Those dudes took the stage after we finished and shared songs that made me go whoo, I gotta go back to the drawing board! They’re writing from crazy experience of grief and a Point of View of then bettering themselves!

Most of the dudes in there are working on school, getting degrees, simply increasing their vocabulary, working out, all to occupy time and stay out of more trouble. All those things seem tike spiritual freedom to me.
I wasn’t surprised that they were nearly all black and brown people but that’s sparking another conversation I think, but in the context of this one, it was cool how after the show they all crowded around me as I played my drum and sang “Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.

It definitely seemed to lift the spirit of everyone, certainly myself included! The line “life is your right!” is what I think about getting up and standing up for. Simply having the courage to sit at the big table with the big bosses either literally when you’re at work, or metaphorically in everyday life and situations, and letting your ideas and your experiences be heard. Each person’s perspective is an important one, and that’s what I got from these inmates!

They were deep, smart, articulate, and most of them had an uplifting word to spread either by song or just in conversation! As a person walking around free in the free world, I have absolutely no excuse not to better myself every chance I can get, and then share my experiences through music or just through smiling at a stranger or giving a good uplifting word to inspire someone who needs to talk.

And that’s the last thing I’ll share in this long as post – the simple things like smiling at a stranger, treating people with the general respect that we all deserve, laying saying hello back to someone who reaches out – I’m talking about the little things we encounter all the time… I got more of that kind of reverence and respect from prisoners in Folsom Prison than I do everyday walking around in midtown Sacramento, the most diverse city in the world.

In fact, not one time was I ignored. Beautiful experience. We could all learn a lot from these prisoners I think. Kerry the woman driving us in the golf cart, invited us back in 6 months to a year, looking forward!

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