'Big shoes to fill': Three generations honour Johnny Cash music
Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017 4:36PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:16PM EDT
Jason Turcotte didn't set out to become a Johnny Cash impersonator.
In fact, the LaSalle singer started out doing a few songs at festivals and then the requests started pouring in.
“Every time I went out they’d say, play a Johnny Cash song, so I’d play a Johnny Cash song. The next festival I’d go to, they’d say play two Johnny Cash songs. By the time I knew it, I was playing 40 Johnny Cash songs and everybody knew me as Cash.”
That's how Paying Cash was born, the tribute band that performs hits by the late country music legend and rockabilly rebel.
"It's such a big thing, big shoes to fill, so I try not to be him or impersonate him," says Turcotte. "I try to just do my own thing in some sense, add my own flare to it, but at the same time if you close your eyes you think it's Johnny Cash singing."
And who was Johnny Cash without his second wife and singing partner June Carter? Turcotte says they've transformed the relationship to more of a father-daughter bond, with his 12-year-old girl Cassie Turcotte belting out her part of the duets.
"We make it a family thing,” says Turcotte. “We have three generations on stage. We have my father-in-law Mike McCallum as lead guitar, we have his granddaughter as June Carter and myself. So it's nice to have us all out there. It's just creating memories for years to come."
Turcotte's daughter Cassie joined him on stage for the first time last year, and they've done several more performances together since. He's enjoyed seeing the evolution of her singing.
"From when she used to hum I used to tell her to be quiet every single time we had dinner and stuff like that, but now it just lightens me up just to see her come out," says Turcotte.
Cassie says it's an honour to portray Carter, a five-time Grammy-winning artist.
"She was really good at what she did, so I try to be as good as she was," says Cassie.
Paying Cash will take the stage at The Old Walkerville Theatre on Saturday night at 8 p.m. for the Presley and Cash Highway Road show, sponsored by Wolfhead Distillery. James Gibb and the Silvertones will also be performing.
Some of the proceeds will be going to help out the Miracle League of Amherstburg in raising funds for their wheelchair swing.
"Children love to swing and people in a wheelchair don't get that opportunity, so this is going to give them that opportunity to swing," says says Diana Hunt, secretary to the Miracle League.
Tickets for the Highway Road Show are $20 and can be bought online or at the Old Walkerville Theatre.