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What Happens When a Rock Star Proposes Onstage?

by Staff
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Take June Carter Cash’s ambivalence toward her own onstage engagement — the less goth predecessor of Mr. White and Ms. Jean’s nuptials. In 1968, Johnny Cash proposed to Ms. Carter in front of a crowd of 7,000 people in London, Ontario. When asked about the engagement 13 years later, in a joint 1981 interview on the “Mike Douglas Show,” Ms. Cash said: “You’re not going to make me tell it again!”

Ms. Jean has not yet tired of her own engagement story, but she said that long before Mr. White placed the beetle ring on her finger, she was a musician with her own body of work and her own fans. She performed with the band the Black Belles from 2009 to 2012, then released two solo albums, “Bathtub Love Killings,” in 2014, and “Night Owl,” in 2019. During the pandemic, she started working on a third album, which is mostly done, but probably won’t be released until 2023 because of a vinyl shortage.

Ms. Jean’s music is loud and muscular, a distinctly Americana combination of brash garage rock and boppy surf music. It’s music to listen to while applying red lipstick in the rearview mirror of a convertible, or while fantasizing about smashing an ex’s TV with a baseball bat.

What she writes about best, she said, is “frustration, stress and being angry,” though she insists that in reality she’s really quite content. “I live a pretty easygoing, happy life,” she said, smiling. “That just seems to be the only thing that inspires me, is writing about sassy emotions.”

The wedding did change things, though. There’s being a successful musician, and then there’s being a successful musician whose spontaneous wedding to a well-known rock star made headlines around the world.

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