13 Amazing Singers Similar To Johnny Cash

Written by Dan Farrant

Johnny Cash, a legendary country and folk music icon, has captivated audiences worldwide with his deep voice and unmistakable style. 

In his lengthy career, his album Man in Black explored various genres such as Americana, outlaw country, rockabilly, and gospel, which profoundly impacted countless artists who came after him.

As fans, we’ve compiled a list of 13 amazing singers like Johnny Cash, whose music echoes elements of the enigmatic performer’s timeless sound. Read on to learn who they are!

1. Bobby Bare

The country music legend Bobby Bare was known for his incredible talent in captivating audiences worldwide. Born and raised in Ironton, Ohio, he was inspired by iconic musicians like Hank Williams and Johnny Cash and became a significant figure in the country music scene.

In the 1960s, he signed with RCA Records and released many successful albums and hit singles, including the popular tracks Detroit City, 500 Miles Away from Home, and The Streets of Baltimore.

Both Bare and Cash had music that often incorporated elements of folk and rock. Not only were the two singers similar in musical styles, but they also had a personal relationship. Cash was the godfather of Bare’s youngest daughter, and they were good friends.

2. Carl Perkins

Born in Tennessee, USA, Carl Perkins was a prominent figure in the music scene during the 1950s and beyond. His distinct blend of country, blues, and rock and roll influenced some of the biggest names in music history.

For instance, his songs were recorded by legends such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Johnny Cash, whom he influenced significantly.

Perkins’s association with Cash began when both artists were at Sun Records under the guidance of Sam Phillips. As newcomers to Sun Records, they garnered considerable attention from Phillips due to their unique styles. Eventually, Perkins joined Cash on tour from 1965 to 1976 as part of his backing band, The Tennessee Three.

3. Carlene Carter

Country music talent Carlene Carter was born in Tennessee with a rich family legacy behind her. As the daughter of June Carter Cash and Carl Smith, she was introduced to the spotlight early, eventually becoming Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter when June married him.

In her younger years, Carlene joined The Carter Sisters—comprised of her mother, June, and her aunts—cementing their musical heritage in the industry. She also performed on stage with June and Johnny from an early age, gaining much exposure that helped pave her music career.

Her hits include “Every Little Thing” and “Come on Back.” Like Cash, Carlene’s music combines raw honesty with catchy melodies, creating a beautiful blend that appeals to many listeners.

4. Elvis Presley

Born in Mississippi, the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians in history. He’s known for his unique combination of rock and roll, country music, and gospel sounds, making him a legend even decades after his passing.

While Elvis’s career was often associated with rock and roll, he was heavily influenced by the world of country music—particularly by artists like Johnny Cash.

Sam Phillips, who discovered both Elvis and Cash at Sun Records, played an instrumental role in shaping both artists’ sound and success. Along with famous musicians like Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, they became known as the Million Dollar Quartet after an impromptu jam session.

5. George Jones

Another prominent figure in country music is George Jones. The man had a legendary voice, considered one of the most iconic in country music history.

Originally from Texas, he was more than just a singer; he was also an accomplished musician and songwriter with a career spanning over five decades.

His songs covered a range of themes, from love to heartbreak and everything in between. “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “We’re Gonna Hold On,” and “White Lightning” are some of his chart-topping hits.

Both Jones and Johnny Cash collaborated on various occasions, including performing together. Fans of Cash often appreciate Jones’ music for its emotional depth, powerful vocals, and authentic storytelling.

6. Jerry Lee Lewis

Hailing from Louisiana, Jerry Lee Lewis was an influential rock and roll pianist, singer, and songwriter who was a contemporary of Johnny Cash. Born in 1935, he rose to fame in the 1950s with hits like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

Like Cash, Lewis started his career at Sun Records under Sam Phillips. He was part of the legendary Million Dollar Quartet sessions with Cash, Perkins, and Roy Orbison. The four musicians jammed together on some classic tracks that are still beloved by fans today. 

Lewis went on to have a long successful solo career that lasted over seven decades and had multiple chart-topping country hits. Induction into three halls of fame (Rock and Roll, Rockabilly, and Country Music) was proof of his massive influence over American popular culture.

7. Kris Kristofferson

Texas singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson is an iconic and critical figure in the New Nashville country movement of the ’70s. He’s a popular artist who wrote many hit songs and collaborated with other legendary musicians, including Johnny Cash.

Kristofferson became widely known as a songwriter for his work on songs like “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” which he wrote specifically for Johnny Cash and became one of Cash’s biggest hits and won Kristofferson Songwriter of the Year at the Country Music Association Award.

Aside from writing hit songs for others, Kristofferson also recorded numerous albums as a solo artist, like A Star Is Born and Kristofferson, which helped define his unique sound.

8. Waylon Jennings

Next up is Waylon Jennings, the iconic country music singer, songwriter, and musician from Texas. He began his music career in the late 1950s and gained recognition for his distinctive voice and unique blend of country, rock, and folk influences.

Some of Jennings’ big hits include “Good Hearted Woman” and “I’m a Ramblin’ Man.” These songs showcased his honest and straightforward storytelling, rebellious spirit, and strong vocal delivery.

Jennings often collaborated with Johnny Cash, perhaps most notably in forming The Highwaymen, a country supergroup that included Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

9. Merle Haggard

Among the many influential performers in American roots music, Merle Haggard was one of them. Born in California, Haggard was inspired to pursue a singing career by Johnny Cash and wrote a song in his honor called “Running Kind,” which Cash also covered later on.

Haggard landed in San Quentin State Prison when he was just 20 years old. There, he had an epiphany about his life’s direction and began to learn guitar from another inmate.

After his release, he went on to many #1 country hits, like “The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” “Everybody’s Had the Blues,” “Big City,” “Yesterday’s Wine,” and so much more.

His sound drew heavily on influences like Bob Wills, Hank Williams Sr., and Elvis Presley. It ultimately solidified its place as the Bakersfield Sound—honky-tonk with rock influences from Central California.

10. Rodney Crowell

The talented singer-songwriter from Nashville, Rodney Crowell, has become a legend in the country music industry, winning two Grammy Awards and collaborating with some of the biggest names in the business.

Crowell’s influences include Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Roger Miller, and his collaborations have included work with Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill.

However, his relationship with Rosanne Cash, Johnny’s eldest daughter, had one of the most significant impacts on his career. The pair were married from 1979 to 1992 and frequently wrote songs for each other’s albums.

In addition to writing hit songs for other artists, Crowell has released 17 studio albums over the years, the most notable of which is Diamonds & Dirt, which contains all five of his #1 hits.

11. Roger Miller

Next up, we have another Texas singer-songwriter who left a lasting impact on country and Americana music. Known for his honky-tonk style, Roger Miller was one of the earliest artists to incorporate elements of rock and roll into his sound.

Miller’s influence can still be felt today through collaborations with legendary musicians such as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Donny Lytle (Johnny Paycheck).

He also had a remarkable talent for storytelling through his songwriting. Some of his notable hits include “King of the Road” and “Dang Me,” both of which are Grammy-Award-winning releases.

12. Rosanne Cash

The eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, has followed in her father’s footsteps but also carved out her unique place in country music and Americana and folk-rock fusion genres.

Her family ties run deep within the industry, with famous names like Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell, and Carlene Carter among her relatives.

One notable aspect of Rosanne’s music is her collaborations and associations with other musicians across various genres. Some of Rosanne’s memorable hits include “Seven Year Ache,” “The Way We Make a Broken Heart,” and “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party.”

13. Warren Smith

Ending this list is one of the pioneers of rockabilly. Warren Smith, singer, and guitarist from Mississippi, left an indelible mark on American music. His style blended country, rock and roll, and rhythm and blues to create a unique sound that inspired countless musicians.

Before becoming a musician, Smith served in the US Air Force based in San Antonio—the same city where Johnny Cash spent time during his own military service.

After signing to Sun Records, the label that Cash himself was signed to, in 1956, Smith went on to become a well-known and cherished artist. Sadly, he suffered a heart attack in 1980, cutting short a rising career that lasted only eight years.

Some of his best tracks to check out are “I Don’t Believe I’ll Fall in Love Today,” “Odds and Ends (Bits and Pieces),” and “Why Baby Why.”

Summing Up Our Of Singers Like Johnny Cash

There are a plethora of singers like Johnny Cash who have also made their mark in the music industry. From Bobby Bare to Warren Smith, these artists have all been influenced by Cash’s unique sound and style.

Fans of Johnny Cash should definitely explore the works of these singers. Who knows, you might find new favorites to add to your playlist!

This list is far from complete, however. Let us know who we have missed, and we’ll add them here!

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.