THEATRE: Johnny Cash tribute set to belt out prison blues
FIFTY years ago, Johnny Cash walked through the gates of California's San Quentin State Prison and performed in front of hundreds of hardened criminals.
Coming a year after he had performed at Folsom State Prison, it established Cash a performer for the people.
When Daniel Thompson takes to the stage at the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough tomorrow night, there won't be any bars on the windows or criminals watching on from the wings.
But he hopes to bring to life the essence of what Cash created in that iconic performance.
His show, Johnny Cash - Back to San Quentin will start at 8pm and will be filled with the hits that made Cash a star.
Marking 50 years since the famous prison concerts took place, Thompson said people still enjoyed Cash's music and identified with his attitude.
"I think he was an interesting character," he said.
"He stood up for people and going into prisons is a great example.
"He saw these guys were people too and if he could help them in some way he would.
"That's one of the things that resonates with people about Johnny Cash."
His play list will include the songs people have come to love.
Ring of Fire, A Boy Named Sue, Folsom Prison Blues and Walk the Line will all be on the list.
But so will some of Cash's softer efforts.
His cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails is a song Thompson loves to perform live.
"It's just a great song.
"I always put it in the show."
Cash had the ability to take a song and make it his own, Thompson said.
He said it was an honour to sing the songs the Man in Black made famous.
Thompson grew up in a musical family and it wasn't long before he caught the bug, just from sitting in his family's living room listening to tunes.
"I started singing and never looked back," he said.
Along with his passion for Cash, he loved a lot of different performers, from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, ACDC to Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin.
"I've got a pretty wild music collection," he said.
"I've learned a little bit from each of them."
Tickets will cost $65 for adults or $60 for concessions.