The star performs live for the first time since the death of wife June...

Johnny Cash has made his first public performance without his late wife JUNE CARTER CASH, and described the performance as both a pleasure and a painful experience.

Johnny Cash made a surprise appearance on Saturday (June 21) at the Carter Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, near Maces Springs – his wife’s birthplace – and spoke out about the death of June.

“I don’t know hardly what to say tonight about being up here without her,” he said. “The pain is so severe there is no way of describing it. It’s the biggest… losing your mate. I guarantee it is the big one. It really hurts.”

June died on May 15 at the age of 73 after complications from heart surgery. The husband and wife last appeared at the venue in June 2002 in honour of her birthday.

According to the Kingsport Tennessee Times-News, Johnny Cash received a standing ovation after each song and played classics such as ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, ‘Ring Of Fire’ and ‘I Walk the Line’.

He later told the audience that it was “a healing thing to come back here to this wonderful place with you,” and that June had loved the valley and all the people. “I wish I could share it more, how we felt about each other.”