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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Would you like to be part of a new Johnny Cash video? That might seem an odd question, given the fact that he died in 2003. But a new interactive website called "The Johnny Cash Project" not only brings to life his final studio recording, "Ain't No Grave," it also gives Johnny Cashs many fans around the world a chance to connect with him through digital art.

(Soundbite of song, "Ain't No Grave)

Mr. JOHNNY CASH (Singer-Songwriter): (Singing) Aint no grave can hold my body down.

Chris Milk is the director of the "The Johnny Cash Project." Hes previously worked on music videos for Kanye West, Gnarls Barkley, as well as Barack Obamas Democratic Convention biography video.

He joins us from NPR West.

Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Milk.

Mr. CHRIS MILK (Director, "The Johnny Cash Project): Thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: And just tell us how this works.

Mr. MILK: So basically how it works is weve built a Web site that people who are fans of Johnny Cash can go to and through an interactive drawing tool they can draw a frame from the video.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

Mr. MILK: And all of those frames from all of those thousands of people around the world are aggregated twice a day to make a multitude of different versions of the video. So what you get in the end is a music video thats sort of a living portrait of Johnny where every single individual frame is drawn by a different person that loves him around the world.

SIMON: This might be an inexact analogy, but almost like a gothic cathedral. Its never quite finished. Its always a little different.

Mr. MILK: Thats correct. Every single day it changes, twice a day, and its usually never the same video twice, and theres different versions of the video that you can watch. It can be the highest rated frames that you watch or the frames with the most brush strokes or the newest frames, frames that are labeled as abstract or realistic, so its always constantly changing and growing.

(Soundbite of song, "Ain't No Grave)

SIMON: Any idea how many people who have contributed or how many people have participated so far?

Mr. MILK: Drawing-wise, I think we have about 50,000 so far.

SIMON: Is there some artistic authority that decides what makes it and what doesn't?

Mr. MILK: There is a moderation process, so if you just scribble or draw, you know, a frowny-face, then that will not get in. But if you draw the actual frame that youre given to reference, well put it in the video.

SIMON: I was going to ask you why this song? But I will stipulate, if you go to the website and you see it you almost dont have to ask that question, why this song.

Mr. MILK: Yeah. The song is called "Ain't No Grave and Johnny sings, when I hear the trumpets sound I'm going to rise right out of the ground. Ain't no grave can hold my body down. You know, he's singing about his own mortality and resurrection and eternal life.

(Soundbite of song, "Ain't No Grave)

Mr. CASH: (Singing) Well, meet me Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air. And if these wings don't fail me I will meet you anywhere.

Aint grave can hold my body down. There aint grave can hold my body down.

Mr. MILK: The video is really a visual manifestation of all that love for Johnny around the world coming together and making something thats tangible, making his final music video.

SIMON: Chris Milk is director of "The Johnny Cash Project."

Thanks so much for being with us, sir.

Mr. MILK: Thank you so much, Scott.

(Soundbite of song, "Ain't No Grave)

Mr. CASH: (Singing) Aint grave can hold...

SIMON: And to watch a video about "The Johnny Cash Project, you can visit NPRmusic.org.

This is NPR WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Scott Simon.

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