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A tip of the guitar in tribute to Johnny Cash

James Garner and his band honored “The Man in Black” with iconic songs such as “Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”

James+Garner+enjoys++performing+the+music+of+country+singer+Johnny+Cash+due+to+the+%22nostalgia+factor%22+that+comes+along+with+it.+
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A tip of the guitar in tribute to Johnny Cash

James Garner enjoys  performing the music of country singer Johnny Cash due to the

James Garner enjoys performing the music of country singer Johnny Cash due to the "nostalgia factor" that comes along with it.

Courtesy of the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center (Kevin Hume)

James Garner enjoys performing the music of country singer Johnny Cash due to the "nostalgia factor" that comes along with it.

Courtesy of the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center (Kevin Hume)

Courtesy of the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center (Kevin Hume)

James Garner enjoys performing the music of country singer Johnny Cash due to the "nostalgia factor" that comes along with it.

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“Hello, we love Johnny Cash,” were the first words spoken by lead vocalist James Garner in perfect imitation of Cash’s famous greeting.

Dressed in all black and hair swept into a quaf, it was as if the late country-star was on the stage.    

James Garner and his band honored the 50th anniversary of Cash’s famous Folsom State Prison performance by playing his greatest hits at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Long Beach State.

The auditorium was packed with audience members of all ages, both those who weren’t fans when Cash was alive and others who grew up listening to him. Everyone present Sunday afternoon came to enjoy Cash’s timeless songs.

“I’m more of a fan of older country music because it tells a story of growing up, strife and the poor,” attendee Douglas Howerton said.

The group consisted of lead vocalist James Garner, guitarist Denny Colleret, bass guitarist Rick Duncan and percussionist Nick Auriemmo. The band has been together for 11 years and only plays covers of Cash’s songs.

Over 15 songs were played such as “Folsom Prison Blues,” “I Got Stripes,” “Heart of Gold” and “Man in Black.” The songs and commentaries in between each song recounted a timeline of Cash from his days in the army to becoming the legendary singer.

Garner narrated the background behind Cash’s songs along with his own humorous anecdotes as a fan of Cash that began when he listened to “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.”

Garner recounted how he and his band performed the same show at Folsom State Prison ten years ago.   

“I never thought I’d be happy to go to prison,” Garner said, which earned a round of laughter from the audience.

Before playing “Walk the Line,” Garner wrapped a piece of paper around the neck of his guitar to make a snare-like sound. The technique imitated the same way Cash made the sound because Cash did not have a drummer for his band until later on in his career.

The concert came to end with a mashup and replay of “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Walk the Line” and “Ring of Fire,” earning a standing ovation from the crowd. With the audience cheering for more, Garner and his band had an encore with “Get Rhythm.”

Attendees complimented the concert and talked about how much fun it was to listen to the tunes of Cash that were popular in their time.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was excellent,” attendee Anne Farber said. “It almost sounded like [Cash]. [Garner] is a great performer.”

Afterwards, the band had a table for a meet and greet to thank the audience for coming to their show. Attendees were able to talk to the band members, purchase CDs, get an autograph and snap a photo.  

The glowing reaction from the crowd was mirrored by the band. Garner commented how much he loved playing to their typical audience of middle-aged to seniors.

“I like playing for that crowd because they appreciate the music and it has a nostalgia factor,” Garner said.

Garner ended the evening saying he has no plans to tribute any singer other than Cash and the songs that were his “rock” during Garner’s formative years and still to this day.     

“This is all I’ve ever done and ever want to do. I love Johnny Cash,” he said.

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