Are Cash Tribute Bands in Poor Taste?

I like Johnny Cash as much as anyone, but I never got the chance to see him perform live.

In a certain way, it might be fun to see a good Cash tribute band. It wouldn’t make up for having never seen Johnny in person, of course, but it could still be fun to get together with a bunch of other people in a concert setting and appreciate his music. Tribute bands aren’t the only way to do that – many acts cover Cash in their live shows – but a whole concert of his music? If the band didn’t suck, I might like it.

Still, the number of Cash tribute acts available for hire makes me uncomfortable. A quick Google search turned up the ten acts below; I’m sure there are others further down the list, and more still without an internet presence. Presumably, all these acts were not around before Johnny’s passing in 2003. Regardless of when they formed, their present success – to whatever extent they enjoy success – is undeniably built on the posthumous Cash-mania in popular culture.

I can’t divine anyone’s intentions, but there has never been a better time to be paying tribute to Johnny Cash.

Far From Folsom | Folsom Prison Gang | Cash Kings | Mighty Cash Cats | Cash’d Out | | Terry Lee Goffee | Sun of Cash | Cold Hard Cash | Johnny Cash Tribute Band | He Wears Black

Paying respects or cashing in on a trend? What’s your take?


  1. juli says

    I know that Cash’d Out is the only Johnny Cash tribute band endorsed by the official Johnny Cash website, and they’ve played for the Cash family… so if you’re going to vicariously experience The Man In Black posthumously, I’d put my money on them. :-)

  2. Paul W Dennis says

    Tommy Cash , Johnny’s younger brother, does a Johnny Cash tribute show when his booking calls for it (he also does shows of his own hits). Tommy sounds quite similar to his brother

  3. Jack Azbill says

    Hello, I’m Jack Azbill with “California’s Cash Only Band”. We are a Johnny Cash Tribute Band “. I have been searching the web for about a year now and listening to as many J.C. tribute bands and impersonators as possible. I feel that there are only a few good Cash tribute bands out there. Keeping in mind that Johnny was one of a kind and cannot be replaced, we can only hope to capture the simularities that allow us to through his music and songs. I think that Johnny’s best impersonator is Jackson Cash in Branson, Misourri. I and my Johnny Cash Tribute Band feel fortunate enough to have the ability to perform his music with fair accuracy and conviction that a four piece band is able to. I have always been a great Johnny Cash fan. I and my band have much respect for his music, family, and fans. We have just begun this venture in the tribute band venue but are very satisfied with the possitive responces that we have thus far recieved from people and places that we have performed for. Thank you for allowing us me to comment here on, “Country California”. I appreciate it! Below is the url to one of our “YouTube” videos. Also posted on “YouTube” is our signiture song that I wrote for our band about Johnny Cash. If you wish to check it out, it is called, “We Knew Him as the Man in Black”. Thank you again! Sincerely, Jack Azbill and “California’s Cash Only Band”.

  4. GretschBill says

    Wow, just saw this web page. I have been around music for 30 years and have seen quite a few JC tribute bands.

    The best one I have seen is Cash’d Out from San Diego. They do the best job representing JC with the look and sound of the show.

    The cold Hard Cash show just seems to be a 3pc band playing JC songs, and a lead singer that is also the lead guitarist that has a pomp hairdo. The quality of that show is just OK.

    The worst I have seen is Jimmy Ray. Actually got a call from him one day (not sure how he found my number) and he asked me to sit in on upright. I thought it would be fun but passed after I checked out his website. Well he came to town and did his show and it was less than decent. He didn’t have the look, the voice, or the stage presence.

    That is my take on 3 different JC bands. I am sure by now you have seen a few as the OP was years ago.

    Have fun and always support Live Music.

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