A NEWPORT-BORN artist’s artwork features in a new exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, USA.

Jon Langford, 57, a founder member of the punk band The Mekons, was commissioned by the museum to paint a selection of portraits for the Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City exhibition, which opened on March 27.

Mr Langford’s portraits of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Charlie Daniels, Mac Gayden, Lloyd Green, Charlie McCoy, and Norbert Putnam all feature in a lavishly illustrated, 112-page companion book published by the Country Music Foundation Press.

His paintings of Dylan and Cash have even adorned billboards across the Bible Belt in the United States to promote the exhibition, which examines the close friendship between these two icons in the '60s.

Mr Langford, who has lived in Chicago since 1994, also performed on the same bill as the likes of Deana Carter, Steve Young, Tracy Nelson, Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua at the exhibition’s opening night on March 27.

He said: “It’s so outrageous that I had never even dreamt of something like this. “It was a very peculiar experience and the lyrics of my song Death of Country Music are even on the front of the museum.

“The Hall of Fame is incredibly scholarly and the exhibition features photos of me doing the paintings, so there’s a giant wall there of just me.

“I was just thinking, ‘that shouldn’t be me’.”

The exhibition will, presented by Citi, covers an area of more than 5,000 feet and runs until December 31 2016.

A former art student at Leeds University, where punk band the Mekons were formed in 1977, Mr Langford has made his name as an artist for the striking, distressed portraits he paints.

Often painted on plywood, with dark, moody colours, Mr Langford achieves a distressed look for his paintings by scraping on them with a Stanley knife once the paint has dried.

Among some of Mr Langford’s most high-profile fans, was Johnny Cash, who vowed to hang the artist’s portrait of him in his home in Jamaica, following a gig at the Newport Centre in 1990.

He said “I just throw myself into it. At art school, I thought I was (Claude) Monet painting trees, but now it’s about actually relating to the wilderness.

“All that music I had listened to over the years, from guys like Cash, just tumbles on to the canvas.

“Folsom Prison Blues was the first song I ever learnt on guitar, at 15, and When I gave Johnny Cash the painting, he kissed my mother on the lips. She never gave me any grief after that.”

Mr Langford splits his time equally between music and art and is set to embark on a new tour with The Mekons in the summer.

For more information, visit http://jonlangford.de