Let’s learn this haunting modern country classic – one of the last songs ever written by the legendary Johnny Cash. Notice the strong contrast throughout the song, with the sparse chords and almost-spoken vocals building into busier and more melodic sections. This musical contrast draws the listener in and is a core part of the emotion of the song.
The Man Comes Around for Guitar
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar
In the cowboy chords exercise (level 4) you’ll play the chords of the song: C Am F G. This particular set of chords is extremely common throughout all styles of music, and you can hear why – they fit together perfectly. It’s worth experimenting with writing your own songs using this set of chords, you can’t go too far wrong!
In the full rhythm exercise (level 6) you’ll play the original rhythm guitar part, using mostly cowboy chords with a bass-strum technique. The muted strums (“chicks”) aren’t written in the notation, but feel free to add them yourself. Notice the common country technique of playing a normal C chord (with the root note on the 5th string fret 3), then moving the root note a string down (to the 6th string fret 3) – it’s a great one to memorize! Also notice the G chord is held with the middle-ring-pinky fingers, which feels awkward at first but is very handy when changing quickly between G and C.
The Man Comes Around for Ukulele
by: Vellu Halkosalmi, Music Education Designer for Bass and Ukulele
In the chords exercise (level 4) you’ll play the chords of the song: C Am F G. This particular set of chords is extremely common throughout all styles of music, and you can hear why – they fit together perfectly. There are lots of transition strums in the recording which are not written. Only the important ones are written in the exercise. You can experiment on playing more strums yourself imitating the backing track.
The Man Comes Around for Singing
by: Sonja Patrikainen, Music Education Designer for Singing
In this song, Johnny Cash’s vocals are very speech-like. This means there’s no clear melody, but the spoken parts are rhythmically tied to the background. Try practicing this song phrase by phrase, and pay attention to how the singer articulates. You can even try to imitate his accent, as it is such a big part of Johnny Cash’s style.