REVIEW: Shawn Barker/ Johnny Cash
REVIEW: “Shawn Barker: Johnny Cash, the Man in Black
By Sandy Zimmerman
(PHOTOS by Sandy Zimmerman during the show.)
I enjoy tribute artists because of all of the work they put into creating the perfect image of the celebrity. It’s those little mannerisms, the nuances that catch the “feeling” of being there at the celebrities’ concert.
Shawn Barker is Johnny Cash on stage during his tribute, a delicate transformation in presenting the man and his music. Shawn’s look and his voice tell the story of Johnny Cash.
I haven’t seen Johnny Cash perform but hearing the identifiable voice and seeing Shawn on stage, he captured the essence of Johnny Cash so close its uncanny.
Part of the enjoyment during the show, Shawn’s comments brought back memories of Johnny Cash’s life. Johnny’s music speaks for itself with more than 90 million records sold worldwide.
Shawn sings the songs Johnny’s fans want to hear, the classic songs that people identify with as their songs. Shawn sang “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line” and “Ballad of a Teenage Queen and many more.
Since 2005, Shawn Barker has performed his celebrated “Man in Black” tribute show all over the world. His high-energy performance recreates Cash’s iconic sound and signature style down to his acoustic guitar and harmonica. Shawn’s show features hits from Johnny Cash’s entire musical career, including his duets with the late June Carter.
They said Johnny Cash had an outlaw image, while drinking, taking drugs and being arrested made him more human and he was considered a man of the people. Although Johnny did get arrested several times, he never served a prison sentence as people though.
Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, Johnny Cash released more than 100 hit singles, making him one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
Johnny’s music has crossed over multiple genres, which won him inductions into the Country Music, Gospel Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.
Johnny began performing concerts at prisons starting in the late 1950s. He played his first famous prison concert on January 1, 1958, at San Quentin State Prison. These performances led to a pair of highly successful live albums, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, (1968) and Johnny Cash at San Quentin (1969).
Shawn Barker stared as Tribute to Johnny Cash, The Man in Black, at The Orleans Hotel during one of his infrequent visits to Las Vegas. Check the Orleans Hotel’s schedule of upcoming stars. www.orleanshotel.com
INTERVIEW: Shawn Barker in
Johnny Cash- The Man in Black
Shawn Barker's Tribute to Johnny Cash” brings most of Johnny Cash’s famous songs the public enjoyed.
Shawn: “The title of my show
was taken from in the 60’s, Johnny
wore a black suit, black clothes and
became known as the man in
SZ: “Much of Johnny’s music
had that dark feeling. He was one
of the people.”
Shawn: “Some did have a darker
tone to them. His music was widely
accepted by everyday Americans.”
SZ: “Johnny Cash was the bestselling
singer of all time with over
90 million albums sold.”
Shawn: “He had a lot of music
out there. His bands crossed quite
a few generations.”
SZ: “When did you begin your
Johnny Cash tributes?
Shawn: “Almost 15 years ago, I
performed Elvis Tributes before
and sent an audition tape to “Million
SZ: “You were discovered?”
Shawn: “They requested that I
try out for the Johnny Cash part. I
was cast as Johnny Cash and became
one of the original members
of “Million Dollar Quartet on
SZ: “Which of his songs do you
Shawn: “I like them all, the standards,
the ones he was famous for-
“Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,”
“Folsom Prison Blues” and even
those he performed later with his
wife June Carter in the ’90’s. Each
song is different in its own way. I
like his music and can’t choose just
one of them.”
Shawn: “My tribute is a full scale
Las Vegas-style show."
SZ: “What can the public expect?”
Shawn: “This is not just like a
bar room band, it’s a full
“Legend’s” type of show. Eight
people are on the stage with me, a
full band and video back-up.
There’s a lot of money invested in
the show. It’s everything you would
expect to see at a Las Vegas show.”
SZ: “I like mixing the show with
videos that adds so much.”
Shawn: “It gives a nice aesthetic
look with video and a live show.”
SZ: “Are you touring now?”
Shawn: “I have toured Australia,
Germany, France and Canada
and am ready to head out on the
road almost all month then back to
Las Vegas to do two shows, the next
day I’m flying to Mississippi.”