Monday Mar 03 2008
Walking the legendary line
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal Staff Writer
Tribute concerts raising Cash for Placer
The first time Johnny Price saw Johnny Cash, it nearly knocked him off his feet. Literally. It was 1960 when the then 12-year-old Price saw Cash perform at the Rocklin Stardust Skate Rink. Price brought his copy of Cash's album to the show, intent on getting the rising star's autograph. When he came off the stage I was so star struck, I just let him walk right over me, Price said. The seemingly seven-foot-tall Cash nearly knocked Price over. He ran his fingers through my hair and said, ˜Are you alright son?' Price recalls. He patted me on the head and then walked off into the crowd. Price still has that Sun Studio album, but Cash never signed it. It was thrilling and I can re-live it in my mind any time I want, Price said. I don't need to look at an autograph. Price channels his lifelong idol while performing his Back in Black Johnny Cash tribute. He and his wife Dee Price ” she's a Patsy Cline tribute artist ” will hit the Placer High stage with their band, the Rhythm Riders, this weekend for two nights of entertainment benefiting the school's athletics program. I've followed Johnny and sang his songs all my life, but now that he's passed away, I feel the baton has been passed to me, Price said. Our hearts and souls are in this music. Now we have a chance to carry on his music and keep it alive. We have this beautiful opportunity to carry on his legacy and tell his stories. Can't Get Enough Cash features the Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline tributes and a special appearance by W. S. Fluke Holland, who played drums for Cash for more than 40 years. This guy was the sound, he created the sound for Johnny Cash, Price said. Both Johnny and Dee Price, along with three of their five children, are Placer High graduates. We've only taken from Placer, John Price said. We've never had an opportunity to give back. This is just a thrill for us to go back to the roots we came from and perform at our hometown school. To know that we are doing something to give back to the school is just so rewarding. Bill Roderick, Placer High principal, is delighted that the Prices and the Rhythm Riders would not only want to perform at Placer, but also hand over the proceeds. I'm so excited to have this much talent come forward to help out our high school, he said. They didn't have to do this. They're wonderful people and they're wonderfully talented. People will not be disappointed. Price said those in the crowd next Friday and Saturday can plan on hearing some of Cash's hit songs, including Boy Named Sue and Ring of Fire paired with some of Cash's gospel tunes, which are Price's personal favorites. Dee Price has a similar respect and love for Cline, and said her tribute includes songs like I Fall to Pieces and Walking After Midnight. She just had such a powerful voice, a sound nobody would match, and I've just been so struck by her sound and her songs, she said. The Prices and the Rhythm Riders promise a professional, world-class night of entertainment. We are reputed to be the best Johnny Cash tribute in the country, Johnny Price said. Wherever we take Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash music, it's just a great response. People just think it's the real thing. For Price, it doesn't get much better than giving modern crowds a taste of the late Cash's voice and stage presence. There's a delivery in his baritone voice that just defies you ignoring it. It just captures the imagination, he said. He gets your attention and you'll hear every song he sings because it's captivating. The Journal's Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at email@example.com, or comment online at auburnjournal.com.