I literally woke up this morning to the news that Johnny Cash -- one of the only musician heroes I have as an adult -- is dead.

The clock radio came on at roughly ten minutes after six. Bob Edwards was saying: "Two celebrities died today -- Johnny Cash and John Ritter."

What a blow. I'm very saddened by this, even though I knew it was coming. He's been so sick thorugh the years, and we're lucky to have gotten some of his best work in the late 1990's. He was one of the few truly seminal American musicians alive -- in many ways as important as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline. But his wife June Carter died on May 16, 2003 -- I knew it was only a matter of time.

And of course, the Washington Post gives greater prominence to Ritter than to Cash. But it doesn't change the fact that an important era in American music has now passed out of existence, never to return. And Johnny Cash is now part of history.