The Man in Black lives on 

Johnny Cash’s original back-up band in Whistler

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Who: The Tennessee Three

Where: Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC)

When: Monday, April 23

Tickets: $20

Close your eyes at The Tennessee Three concert Monday at the Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) and a familiar voice behind the recordings of the Man in Black will transport listeners to a different time — the days of touring in the company of greats like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Music will never be the same after Johnny Cash’s death Sept. 12, 2003.

Bob Wootton of The Tennessee Three toured and recorded with Cash for more than four decades, both strumming out the famed “boom chicka boom” of Cash’s music as well as the vocals that accompanied the country/rock legend.

Wootton shares the stage with one of Johnny’s other backup boys, W.S. Holland, Cash’s longtime drummer.

Holland recorded on all of Cash’s hits, including Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk The Line and Ring of Fire. He performed alongside Cash for four different presidents at the White House. His recording credits also include Carl Mann, Little David Wilkins and Bob Dylan.

The Tennessee Three concerts are rumoured to leave audiences teary eyed, taking Cash fans back to the times of June Carter right up to his Highway days via first-hand stories shared in between sets of Cash classics and Tennessee originals.

This is not a tribute band. This is the real deal and the band has Cash’s old touring bus to prove it — a gift given to the Tennessee Three when Cash semi-retired in 1997.

Cash gave voice to the lonesome and lost during his music reign that crossed over rock and country, leading to two hit singles a year on the Country Music charts for 33 years running.

It’s hard to decide what is more remarkable: the 53 million albums he sold, the 13 Grammy Awards, 43 songs placing top honours on the pop charts, 130 songs on country charts or the fact that besides Hank Williams, Cash is the only person inducted into the Songwriters, Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

Tennessee Three originally began as The Tennessee Two in the mid-50s. The group’s debut album was The Tennessee Three: The Sound Behind Johnny Cash . The group is currently touring Canada promoting their new tribute album to Cash, The Sound Must Go On , which was released earlier this year.

The concert may not start out with Cash’s famous tagline, “Hello… I’m Johnny Cash.” But today this is as close as anyone is ever going to get to the music of the Man in Black.

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