With all the hubbub last week with new releases and news, I had little time to talk about Big John Cash, who had a birthday, and a posthumous release of American VI: Ain’t No Grave. But when Friday came, I got to leave the laptop behind, and head down to Austin to focus on The Man in Black and the Man in Black only at the 4th running of the Johnny Cash Bash.
You can’t see Johnny Cash anymore, but the Cash Bash is the next best thing. First you have a lineup that includes one of the best Johnny Cash tribute bands, The Band in Black, add Earle Pool Ball, Johnny’s pianist, and W.S. “Fluke” Holland, Johnny’s drummer. Then put them in the last venue that Johnny Cash played before his death (and where I’ll see Hank III in 3 weeks), that being the legendary Emo’s, and if you couldn’t feel the spirit of Johnny Cash in that room, you belonged at the hip dance bar down the way. You know the one I’m talking about, the one that thumps the repetitive bass line as you walk by, and requires a silk shirt and shaved balls to get in.
Emo’s even has the stool Johnny Cash used that night in 1994 hanging from the ceiling. Johnny was there my friends, and so were many other artists and bands worth seeing all on their own, like Roger Wallace, The Skeletons (always love bands with female drummers), The Derailers, and the artist I was most looking forward to seeing, the one and only Lucky Tubb.
That is over five hours of music. At least, I was there for over five hours and got there fashionably late, and left when music was still happening. The crowd was strong, despite temps in the lower 40’s (that’s a hard freeze in Austin) and the venue being open air. The crowd peaked about the time Earle Pool Ball’s band played, who despite being up there in years and a pretty regular on the Austin live show schedule, still felt like the headliner in a strong field.
At a Johnny Cash tribute you’re going to get a good mix of people: country folks, hardcore folks, kids, olds. And they all seemed to appreciate the music, no matter if it was The Skeletons kicking it rockabilly style, or Earle Pool Ball leading the whole crowd in the gospel tune “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
There were also auction items available, with all proceeds going to SOS USA, Johnny’s favorite charity.
Over its four year run, the Cash Bash has been gaining a lot of steam, and a lot of national notoriety. They added a Houston and Dallas date this year, and for part of the night I hung out with 6 people who had flown down from Detroit City just to be there. It was a guy’s 50th birthday party, and he couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day than at the Cash Bash, in Austin, at Emo’s, with the stool hanging from the ceiling and the whole bit.
Keep your eyes on this annual event, because my gut tells me it’s only going to grow with each new installment.
To read a review of the Lucky Tubb set, click here.
Rowdy introducing Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Trubadors:
Mr. Honky Tonk Piano, Earle Pool Ball:
Fluke Holland on Drums: