by Ashley Janes
Morinville – The Morinville Community Cultural Centre will host David James and Big River Nov. 29. Starting at 8 p.m. the band will provide town residents with what has been described as one of the most authentic Johnny Cash tribute performances in the world. According to their website reviews, when James comes around, Johnny Cash fans follow in droves. With a show that incorporates both a high quality reproduction of Cash’s music and a front man that sounds, looks, and moves like the Man in Black, show-goers are sure to be transported back in time to a real Cash performance.
James formed his first Johnny Cash tribute band about six years ago but most of the current Big River band has been together four years, including Todd Sacerty and Colin Stevenson. Duncan Symonds was the last to join the group two years ago. They got their start playing bar shows across Vancouver Island, but James quickly realized they had the potential to do more. Eventually, they lined up gigs at casinos show rooms, theatres, and community halls. He hopes one day to make it all the way to Vegas, but for now he’s happy with the cities and little towns in Canada.
The following is an interview with James regarding his upcoming performance:
Q: Describe the show. What can residents expect from you and the band?
A: Well, we’re going to start in the 50s and make it all the way till 2002, pretty much just prior to his death and in no particular order. We’re going to bounce around a little bit getting into the 60s and 70s. We are going to do all his really big, well-known hits. Maybe one or two unknowns will sneak through the cracks.
Q: Will you give an example?
A: I like to do the odd obscure song just because I thought it was a well written song that should have been a hit. Johnny Yuma would be one. I would say maybe you haven’t heard of that song. If you’re not a Cash fan, there’s no reason why you should have but you’ve probably heard Ring of Fire.
Q: What can you say about the performance itself?
A: It’s gonna be an exciting, high-energy show. I’m gonna tell a bunch of stories about Johnny in between songs. In-character as Johnny but not saying: “When I was…” It will be like: “When Johnny was…” I do it from the Almost Johnny Cash acting persona. I talk like him and all that, but I never claim to be him.
Q: Will you comment on why you believe Johnny Cash has remained such a well-loved and timeless musical icon?
A: Well, he wrote really good and simple songs that struck with lots of people. He was a reachable icon. Elvis? You couldn’t get near Elvis. Johnny wasn’t that much smaller than Elvis but you could walk up to him. He was a working man, himself. He came from the cotton fields. He loved to help out guys in jail. He was just a wonderful kind of guy. But is starts with the music alone. It was some kind of magic he brought, it was simple. And that voice. People had to have more of it.
David James and Big River
Nov. 29 – 8 p.m.
Morinville Community Cultural Centre
Tickets: $25 adult • $20 senior • $10 student