A BOY NAMED CASH A Johnny Cash experience

Having performed Johnny Cash’s songs in his likeness right across Australia and the UK in all kinds of venues, Monty Cotton is bringing his show A Boy Named Cash to Fringe World 2022, hitting The Royale Theatre from Friday, February 11, to Sunday, February 13. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Monty Cotton to find out how he got into music of Johnny Cash and came to perform his songs on stage right across the world.

How did you get started in music? Has it always been a large part of your life?

I was lucky enough to grow up in a very musical family, there were always pianos and guitars ukuleles and didgeridoos being thrown around. I had classical piano lessons from when I was about six for a couple years then didn’t touch anything until I was 13 and suddenly became in love with all musical instruments particular drums and guitar.

What made you start playing Johnny Cash songs? Is it because of your voice, or was it something else?

My dad played in a bush band which meant lots of fast train rhythms, and I listened to old country music as a kid so that sound has always been in my skin. I’ve always loved accents so I can’t help chucking a bad Irish accent on when I do an Irish song for example and Johnny Cash was the same – I had to try and copy the voice because it’s so iconic – a couple of people mentioned that it sounded pretty close so I worked on it from there.

You used to work as an accountant but then you decided to pursue music. What was that shift like for you?

The shift was slightly accidental when I decided to move to Perth from Sydney for a change. I told myself I’d be more active with music with the move but thought I’d still probably have to get my accounting hat on to pay the bills. Turns out the scene in Perth has been amazing, there’s shows everywhere and I’ve had the time of my life playing music full time.

How did you discover Johnny Cash? Was is a particular song or did you hear his name somewhere?

I discovered Johnny cash in high school when the movie Walk the Line came out. Great movie, great music.

What makes Johnny Cash special compared to other artists?

The storytelling,  the unique bass voice, the train rhythm…a combination of those three really do set him apart from anything. I think Chris Isaac once said there’s only a few artists where you instantly know who’s singing the song and Johnny was one of them.

Johnny Cash has a lot of great songs, so what’s your favourite out of them?

My favourite Johnny Cash song is his acoustic cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky. The strength, depth, and character of his voice is truly unique.

What should we expect from your show? Any particular songs we should look forward to?

My show will have all the greatest hits of Johnny Cash – well as much as you can fit in one hour. A few laughs, a few tricks, an amazing double bass player, a lot of audience participation, in fact we will be pulling someone up from the crowd to help us sing a duet – so we hope to find a new “June Carter” each show. 


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