THE CLOSEST THING you will experience to Johnny Cash is the tribute by Jimmie Ray who has been honoring Johnny Cash in his show. At Jimmie’s side is Cyndi Cantrell who portrays June Carter. Cyndi is Jimmie’s real life wife who performs with him in the Johnny Cash Show. www.johnnycashvegastribute.com.
Jimmie and Cyndi have been performing together since their marriage in 1994 and they are a dynamic duo. Their stage presence is powerful and the audience immediately feels the power of their music and songs. Jimmie’s physical presence, energy and his singing will evoke the emotions upon hearing the songs and music of Cash. A lot of people do call him Johnny. Jimmie Ray can relate to him because of his background of growing up in the Great Smokey Mountains. Cyndi Cantrell was born in Louisiana and is the daughter of a preacher. Her tributes are to Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and a cute and perky Minnie Pearl. Cyndi loves to change her outfits all during the show as she becomes the next character. It is amazing how much she looks like Loretta Lynn. She was a gospel singer and Jimmie said she is a natural born entertainer with a tender presence. Cyndi also plays the harmonica and it comes natural to her.
In a live Internet Web cast talk show, “Live at the Studio,” Jimmie and Cyndi told of their bantering back and forth in their show and how she always does something to surprise him, like the kettle corn incident. Jimmie was singing his heart out and Cyndi came behind him on stage and started throwing popcorn into the drummer mouth and caused the crowd to go wild. Jimmie thought it was for him and played his little heart out, as Cyndi described it. Jimmie turned around and saw what was happening and smiled. He never knows what to expect from Cyndi.
I really enjoyed watching them in the studio as they sang a couple of songs. I could see the tenderness and love for each other as they played. The songs are sentimental and the music touches the heart as it brings you back in time.
The show opens with the song Summertime and then with Folsom Prison Blues and as Jimmie says, the audience gets their money’s worth in the first fifteen minutes and then the rest of the show is free. All the songs that they sing are personal to them in their lives. The crowd loves and appreciates them because they are brought back to that time and they feel it because they are in touch with Jimmie and Cyndi feeling what they sing.
As you walk into the shows you will see a table in the corner with an old radio, an old guitar and three roses in a vase. The guitar belonged to Cyndi’s father and there is a rose there for him and the other two roses are for the son of Cyndi and the son of Jimmie who passed away. It is their tribute to them as they perform their show. I highly recommend you going to see their show.
Jimmy and Cyndi will be performing at Jerry’s Nugget Casino on Saturday December 12, 2009; in the Royal Street Theater with shows at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The 3 p.m. show will be the Johnny Cash Country Show and the 6 p.m. show will be the Johnny Cash Rockabilly Show. Tom Flagg as Willie Nelson will be making a special guest appearance.