His music was raw and bare boned (and often without drums). I always like that sound. Early Elvis had it and I tried to make a few recordings like that myself.
Cash had a strength and presence that has rarely been equaled. His music was born out of the harshness and vulnerability of the American Deep South. Cash once said that rockabilly came out of the cotton fields of the South. He grew up picking cotton and lived, breathed and ate cotton. It was a hard life. You can hear that in his voice. I've never picked cotton, but, like Cash, I aspire to be spontaneous and gritty when I'm on stage.
Musicians, like outlaws, can easily slip out of the 9 to 5 life. Cash knew that well. He also knew that it can catch up with you. Musicians are like wandering storytellers, but we long for community and are often held captive by the very crowds we perform for. It's ridiculous to complain, though. Music is the greatest gift to the planet.
I didn't cry when he died. I knew he'd come close to death many times before, either through drugs or illness. He simply went to a land that his music was a bridge to--a land he believed in.
I will miss the man. He obviously was so haunted by the many dark things of this world. But he chose to rise above it.