Studio Tenn brings the legacy of Johnny Cash to the Ryman Auditorium March 31 and April 1 with “The Cash Legacy: A Tribute to the Man in Black.”
An all-star cast will take the stage to pay tribute to The Man in Black. “Always Patsy Cline” star Mandy Barnett and Grammy Award winner Ashley Cleveland, along with Mike Farris, Laura Matula, and Carrie Tillis plus many others will be featuring the remarkable, and perhaps unexpected, relevance and versatility of Cash’s music.
Carrie Tillis, daughter of country music star, Mel Tillis, recalls meeting Cash backstage at The Opry.
“I remember meeting both Waylon and Johnny – at different times – but I remember how genteel and sweet they both were. Johnny backstage at the Opry was physically so big and tall, imposing even, but he led with such a warmth and sweet smile. Hate to bust that wild persona, but that’s what I remember.”
As we asked Tillis about her favorite Cash song, she didn’t have just one song but a compilation of songs to mention.
“The reason we do the legacy shows is because a true legacy has been left, a body of work that spans a lifetime and inspired many generations. The Johnny Cash songs and sound are a part of our culture! So at one minute in the show I’m reveling in the drive of ‘Folsom Prison’, then elevated in the poetry of a song like ‘Flesh and Blood’, then completely caught up in the story of ‘Give My Love to Rose’, or geeked out because Jake Bradley just played Luther’s part exactly right on the guitar. I just can’t pick one!!! The whole show, I get caught up in and relish! And the moments where I get to add my take? What a gift. I’m so thankful. It’s just a remarkable show to be a part of and share with an audience, and they get it, too.”
Although Cash has a long list of memorable songs, there is a common thread among the cast – a love for ‘Flesh and Blood’, a song written and recorded by Cash.
“‘Flesh and Blood’ is such an amazing piece of song writing. It takes a life of its own and shows just how much of a gifted communicator Johnny was through his music,” said Ashley Cleveland.
Long-time Studio Tenn company member, Laura Matula shares how ‘Flesh and Blood’ is her favorite moment in the production, “It is just piano and three female voices. At one point, we sing a cappella in three-part harmony, and it feels so raw and beautiful. The other song closest to me is ‘Give My Love to Rose.’ It breaks my heart every time I get to tell that story, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to sing that one.”
Mike Farris added by saying, “Wow, there are really just too many to choose from. There are so many songs from the American Recordings sessions that he absolutely turned into his own. Not to mention how relatable so many of his songs can be.”
Don’t miss “The Cash Legacy: A Tribute to the Man in Black” at Ryman Auditorium March 31 and April 1. Tickets can be purchased through the Ryman at ryman.com or by calling (615) 889-3060.
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