Music Mark Stuart of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash.

Mark Stuart of Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash.

Choose which ‘son’ of Cash wisely

Published on November 5th, 2013 | by Joe Lawler

Saturday is a big night for Johnny Cash fans in central Iowa, but they’ll have to make a big choice.

John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, brings his “The House of Cash: An American Musical Legacy” show to Wooly’s. In the show, Carter Cash will celebrate his musical heritage, performing his parents’ songs and providing unique insights on their music and their lives.

Unfortunately, it also falls on the same night as Cash 11, an annual tribute to the Man in Black that has been running since 2003, the year Cash died. The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash are performing the same night as his not-bastard son. The band got permission from Cash to use the name before his passing, and Carter Cash has produced some of that band’s songs.

Cash 11 organizer Randy Burk (who will also perform with his band, Randy Burk and the Prisoners) said it was just an unfortunate coincidence that both shows ended up falling on the same night. His gut reaction was to try to move the tribute show, but between the Bastard Sons’ tour and scheduling at Gas Lamp, no good alternatives were available.

“We thought there might be Cash overload for the city, but nothing else worked to change it,” Burk said. “But the show at Wooly’s starts pretty early, so realistically people can go to the two different shows. We’re not trying to compete, but there was nothing we could do to change it.”

Burk said that despite the connective tissue of the shows, they’re two different things. The annual Cash tribute is a raucous affair, with bands playing Cash songs in their own style as well as mixing in some original tunes. Carter Cash’s show is his perspective on a musical legacy; the Cash tribute is more about the collective Johnny Cash experience.

Over the past 10 years the Cash tribute has featured acts such as Brother Trucker, Luke Fox and previous appearances by the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash and the El Dorados, who play this year. Burk said the variety of bands that have played the tribute illustrates that Cash’s music transcends all kinds of music. He’s the country musician about whom people say, “I don’t like country music, except for Johnny Cash.”

So If you want to hear the son of two legends perform their music, then celebrate Cash’s music more, make it a marathon night. “The House of Cash” is an early show, but Cash 11 will be going until 2 a.m.

Then you just have to deal with the Sunday morning coming down.

Cash 11

When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Gas Lamp, 1501 Grand Ave.
Cost: $10.

The House of Cash: An American Musical Legacy

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Wooly’s, 504 E. Locust St.
Cost: $25

About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

Back to Top ↑

buy an essay online