The Johnny Cash Story

A man wearing a black suit walks on stage. He places himself behind an old-school microphone and adjusts his guitar, propped high against his chest. The spotlight is on him as the band start their intro. The stage is set for a one-hour journey into a remarkable musical career spanning six decades. 'Hello, I'm Johnny Cash'. Tonight we all walk the line.

Jamie Rodden channelled Johnny Cash amazingly well

The word legend is used far too lightly these days, but Johnny Cash is a true legend. The man who began his career in the 1950s touring with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis ended some 50 years later covering Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails. He made more than 80 recordings, sold more than 90 million records and won 18 Grammies. He has the rare honour of being inducted to the Country, Rock and Roll and Gospel Halls of Fame.

That’s a tall order for anyone to take on. But that is exactly what the Night Owl Shows collective do. They specialise in what they call show-umentaries, informative yet entertaining homages to some of the most influential songwriters of the 20th Century like Joni Mitchell, Amy Winehouse, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Carole King and Aretha Franklin, to name a few. And Johnny Cash, of course, portrayed with admirable authenticity by Jamie Rodden.

Cutting from video footage of Cash’s life to live commentary to Cash’s biggest hits, the show was an immersive tribute to the Man in Black. Jamie Rodden channelled Cash amazingly well, delivering the iconic songs with integrity and passion. The love for Cash’s music shone bright throughout the performance. Powerful renditions included I Walk The Line, Folsom Prison, Ring of Fire, Man in Black and the humorous A Boy Named Sue.

In addition to his deep bass-baritone voice, Johnny Cash is also known for his lifelong dependency on drugs and alcohol, as well as his messy private life. Much of Cash's music contains themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption. People related to him because he was a flawed human being, as Rodden pointed in the show. He was a bad boy and people loved him for it.

There is one particular Johnny Cash song, albeit a cover, that is directly connected to my tear ducts. It packs in so much emotion, regret and sorrow, which just pours out from my eyes every time I hear it. The song is, of course, Hurt. So did Jamie Rodden pull it off, did he make me cry? Not quite, it was very moving but no tears. In Rodden's defense, it is an impossible task for a young musician to reach the haunting and frail sound of an old man looking back at his life. Hope he never has to travel the road that led Cash to that sound.

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The Blurb

Following sell-out shows and standing ovations at Edinburgh Fringe, 'The Johnny Cash Story' premieres at Brighton Fringe to take you on an incredible journey through the career of the 18-time Grammy winner. Immerse yourself in the world of the Man in Black in this groundbreaking 'show-umentary' format. Powerful renditions of Folsom Prison, Ring Of Fire, Man In Black and Hurt delivered by Jamie Rodden, whose Cash interpretations have won over critics and audiences all over Europe. “Powerful and compelling singer” (Fringe Guru). “Highly recommended for all lovers of music” **** (Scots Gay).

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