Johnny Cash Kitchen Party coming to Port Hawkesbury, Inverness, Whycocomagh

GRAND RIVER: A popular local tribute show is scheduled to make the rounds at Strait area venues.

The Johnny Cash Kitchen Party will be presented at the Carriage House in Port Hawkesbury on Saturday, Aug. 28. A full meal will be provided by China King at 6:30 p.m., with the show to follow around 7:30 p.m.

“We do a dinner and show. China King caters the whole thing, it’s pretty cool,” said founder Bill Culp. “They did a great job last time and we sold it out. It’s good business for them, it’s good for the Carriage House, it brings out a lot of new people, so it’s a good thing.”

Other upcoming local dates include the CapeStock Concert Series in Whycocomagh on Sept. 20 and 21.

“It’s given lots of work to people. There’s like a circus tent, or event tent, and they’ve been putting on shows,” Culp said. “That thing is cool, he’s got acts there every week, so he’s given lots of work to musicians, that’s for sure.”

The Cash show will also perform at the Inverness Centre for the Arts on Sept. 25.

“That’ll be an indoor show, on a stage there,” Culp said.

Culp said the Johnny Cash Kitchen Party was launched in September 2020 to provide a local, theatrical entertainment solution during COVID-19.

The Johnny Cash Kitchen Party has sold out venues in Sydney, Chéticamp, Judique, St. Peter’s, Port Hawkesbury, and Whycocomagh, Culp noted.

“We did our best to stay busy, and I think we managed to stay pretty busy. We always gigs over the past, ever since things initially opened up last September. We worked pretty steady around Cape Breton Island, but at this point, we’re now going beyond that,” Culp stated. “We’ll have dates all over Nova Scotia so it’s great. Now we’ve got to hope we can avoid the fourth wave and keep continuing on without having these temporary interruptions with lockdowns.”

Culp said the show combines hit songs with Johnny Cash, including “Boy Named Sue,” “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Get Rhythm,” “Hurt,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” and of course, “Ring of Fire,” but also includes other favourites including “Farewell to Nova Scotia” and “Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins. Culp said the show is very audience-interactive.

“We’ve added a few new songs. It’s always evolving, that’s for sure,” Culp noted. “The big one that we’ve added recently that just tears the house down is we do Hank Snow’s ‘I’ve Been Everywhere.’ Johnny Cash also did that song in concert but since it’s also a Nova Scotia classic, we make sure that’s included in the set. We even customize it to reflect the pandemic.”

Cast members include Rob Smith as Johnny Cash, Vince Burke on bass and vocals, Rocky Boudreau on drums, and Culp on lead guitar.

Culp added kudos to Smith for doing a great job playing Johnny Cash.

“This is a guy that I met at MacBouche in St. Peter’s at an open mic night. He was singing ‘A Boy Named Sue.’ I thought he sounded promising,” he added. “So I went an approached him, and he’s now really embraced this job doing the Johnny Cash show, and he’s been doing a great job learning lots of songs, and doing a great job on it. He sounds like Johnny, he looks like Johnny. What more can you ask for?”