Review: The Cash Legacy

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Studio Tenn's "The Cash Legacy" is a triumphant tribute to "The Man in Black."

Studio Tenn presents:
The Cash Legacy (Feb. 19 – March 6; All ages)
Jamison Hall at The Factory
230 Franklin Road, Franklin
888-664-6362 • studiotenn.com
Show times: Thu – Fri 7 p.m., Sat 2 and 7 p.m., Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $47.50 – $57.50

An absolutely unforgettable experience awaits your family with Studio Tenn’s latest theatrical concert, The Cash Legacy. This powerful musical tribute to “The Man in Black” honors both the music and legacy of one of Nashville’s most intriguing legends. To this day, Cash is cool among all generations and genres — in fact, he was the only artist who charted in every musical format while alive, and his hits spread across six decades.

Studio Tenn’s impeccable cast of 10 multi-talented musicians and singers deliver more than 30 of Cash’s timeless tunes. It’s a glorious musical journey that invites the audience to relive a lot of memorable music … and in several instances to revisit familiar songs in a whole new way. Don Chaffer’s keen approach to the show’s musical direction and arrangements keeps much of Cash’s signature sound in tact while blending in contemporary elements. One of the most fascinating encounters of The Cash Legacy is experiencing a few of Cash’s better-known upbeat tunes with slower tempos, like Sara Jean Kelley’s performance of “Home of the Blues” and most notably, Matt Haeck and Carrie Tillis’ heart-tugging rendition of “It Ain’t Me Babe.” While every song in the show is remarkable, this Haeck/Tillis duet is perhaps the most powerful of them all. This slowed-down version embraces the melancholy meaning behind the lyrics (penned by Bob Dylan), and it truly gives the audience a whole new perspective.

Nashville-based recording artist Griffin House makes his Studio Tenn debut, and he brings a lot of energy to the stage with amazing vocals and guitar playing on some of Cash’s biggest hits, including “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Cocaine Blues,” “A Boy Named Sue” and “Ring of Fire,” the latter a rousing duet with Laura Matula.

Matula delivers memorable moments on her own during “Cry! Cry! Cry!” and “Get Rhythm,” and guitarist Jake Bradley steps into the vocal spotlight with Tillis for a rollicking, crowd-pleasing performance of “Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man.”

There are so many other stellar moments in the show it’s simply impossible to name every number, but among them are Patrick Thomas’ “Walk the Line,” “Man in Black” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” Haeck’s “San Quentin” and “Hurt,” and Kelley’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” and the soul-stirring “Ain’t No Grave.”

Giving a nod to Cash’s love of religious music, the cast finishes the evening with a few gospel tunes, appropriately ending with the country-gospel standard, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

The Cash Legacy is certainly a triumphant tribute to one of music history’s greatest icons, and it’s an unparalleled night of live entertainment that will inspire and energize you along the way.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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