Friday Night Live featured an outstanding assortment of local musicians paying tribute to the legend of Johnny Cash at the DIA.
Johnny Cash at the DIA
I love it when a great night of music and fun with friends falls into your lap. We had dinner plans with our friends Robin and Bill. Robin asked if we wanted to check out a tribute to Johnny Cash at the DIA featuring Ryan Dillaha, Zachariah Malachi, and Jo Serrapere. It sounded like an excellent excuse to get some beer and food at Batch Brewing, and then enjoy some killer local talent paying homage to the man in black. As a bonus, our friends Rick and Sharilyn joined us as it was Rick’s birthday.
Johnny Cash in My Veins
My dad loved Johnny Cash. Especially after a few PBR’s, dad would commence to singing along to “Boy Named Sue”. My mom was more of a Ray Price and Patsy Cline fan. She would call Johnny’s music hillbilly. From an early age, country music was a big part of my life. My mom played pedal steel in a country band. My dad even tried to play some rhythm, but I’m not sure it was his calling. Mom pulled me into the mix. At the time, I was more into metal. It took me years to embrace my country roots after getting hooked on the punk fueled country and bluegrass vibe of Rickett Pass. I jumped back into my past and into love with the man in black; Johnny Cash.
A Tribute to the Man in Black
We barely made it into the second set of the tribute to Johnny Cash at the DIA. Every seat was full and folks were stacked up in the wings. I think I missed the memo about this music series at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Thanks, Robin and Bill for looping us in!
Zachariah Malachi and the Hillbilly Executives jump start the tribute with “Folsom Prison Blues”. The Hillbilly Executives are Detroit drumming master Todd Glass, Jesse Manns picking a beautiful candy apple metal flake guitar, and James MacPhee laying it down on the upright bass. On the fiddle is Aaron Jonah Lewis with Tebbs Karney playing the sweet singing pedal steel.
As if this lineup of musicians wasn’t enough, the tribute to Johnny Cash at the DIA included the magical vocal contributions of Ryan Dillaha, Jo Serrapere, Libby DeCamp, and Grace Van’t Hof. Ryan, Libby, and Jo added acoustic guitar, while Grace dug into the country roots on the banjo.
This set of the tribute features classic Cash songs such as “I Got Stripes”, “Get Rhythm”, and “Walk The Line”. Jo Serrapere did a stirring rendition of the traditional folk song “Delia’s Gone” which Johnny Cash covered at least four times in his recordings. Another great traditional cover was “Sixteen Tons”. I’ve always associated this song with Tennessee Ernie Ford, but I’m down with the Cash version.
Taking us into the home stretch of this tribute to Johnny Cash at the DIA is the iconic “Ring of Fire”. Panning the audience, there were plenty of folks singing along. For the finale, the band plays the Carter Family’s “Can The Circle Be Unbroken”. Now the crowd sings in earnest and the room glows.
I’m so glad Robin and Bill were looking out for us by inviting us to this fabulous tribute to the music of Johnny Cash at the DIA. Apparently the Friday Night Live music series is going strong and I’ve been missing the boat. Don’t be like me; keep tabs on upcoming events at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
We have a few more pictures of the tribute to Johnny Cash at the DIA. Enjoy the images. Contact us regarding any use.
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