Paying homage to two country legends

Paying homage to two country legends

Tribute to Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash at the Mary Winspear April 16

David James, best known for his tribute to Johnny Cash, had mostly given up playing the electric guitar. Cash was an acoustic guy, but after picking up a Telecaster, and another (and another), James wanted an excuse to play them live.

“I thought, gosh, it’d be nice to play these, and I realized Waylon Jennings played a Telecaster,” said James. “I talked to the band and said, “hey guys, what do you think?” Been rehearsing, and it sounds dynamite.”

James and his band, Big River, will be playing the hits from both Cash and Jennings at the Mary Winspear on April 16. James said it’s been about four years since the last time they’ve played in Sidney.

James said there were many reasons why the two country legends would make a good double bill. Jennings joined Cash, Willie Nelson, was in the country super group The Highwaymen with Cash, and recorded a few albums together.

“They’re both outlaw country guys, so it just sort of fit for a dual show.”

Big River features Todd Sacerty on bass, “who’s been with me from the get-go.” Much like Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash’s own bass player, James said Sacerty “takes care of everything for me, you know?”

“He makes sure the van’s gassed up, makes sure the insurance is paid, talks to the agent, talks to the hotels, talks to the venues, talks to the sound man. He’s My Man Friday.”

Big River also features Al Medcalf, “an amazing guitar player” who has orchestrated bands over the years and Phil Hagen (who played in a cover band with James 25 years ago) on drums and vocals.

“They’re real good guys and solid players. Real pros,” said James.

The band is from Nanaimo, and they tour quite a bit, particularly in Alberta, where they will be playing a 10-day run of shows in May and even more shows throughout the summer. The group will sometimes drive for 12 or 16 hours to do a gig.

“There’s a saying, they don’t pay you for the two hours on the stage. They pay you for the other 22,” said James. It’s sometimes tiring, but James said “playing music is just about the best job I’ve ever had, so it don’t bother me none.”

Cash’s vast 1,500 song repertoire gives James a lot of variety to work with, and there are many stories to tell, so James doesn’t get bored. “I could play a different show every night for a week and use different stories every night.” Of all the Cash hits, “Orange Blossom Special” is James’ all-time favourite. Now that they are including Jennings in the mix, there are even more combinations.

James and his band have die-hard fans, too. James said one older couple has seen them nine times, and some have even seen the real Johnny Cash, so James said it’s a trip back in time for them.

“We’re going to take you back in time, and you’re going to leave thinking you just saw the real McCoy.”

David James and Big River play at the Mary Winspear on Monday April 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $47 and can be

purchased at

marywinspear.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

A writer studying in England drew from her roots growing up in Sooke for a story that’s been short-listed for a prestigious international prize.
Former Sooke resident up for prestigious writing award

Cara Marks earns nomination for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Most Read