When a group of Aggies gather in their humble studio, they may look like a typical college band. However, most country music lovers would not classify the music they play as typical. The group calls themselves the Johnny Cash Cover Band. And they make every effort to be as authentic as possible.
Group members include biomedical student Carrie Williams, who portrays June Carter. Keaton Tucker, a landscape architecture major, plays the bass guitar. Mechanical engineering graduate student, Stephen Glenn supplies the sound of the lead guitar. David Reeves, a BioEnvironmental Science student, plays the drums. Matt Morris, an agricultural business student, plays the trumpet.
Then there is Brice Woolard. He is also biomedical science student, studying equine reproduction. And he is the man responsible for bringing the essence of Johnny Cash, the man, on stage.
"We want the crowd to see Johnny Cash through me basically so I just do the best I can as to act and sound like Johnny Cash," Woolard said.
Before the movie "Walk The Line" even came out both Woolard and Keaton Tucker were already paying homage to the legendary career of the man in black.
Tucker said he has been a fan of Cash's work for a couple of years now. Before co-founding the Johnny Cash Cover Band, Tucker said he was in two previous bands that played Alternative Rock and Indy Rock. But it took one listen to Cash's music to change his tune.
"I bought my first Johnny Cash album in 2004 and I fell in love with it," Tucker said.
He was not alone in his admiration. Woolard said even before he knew who Johnny Cash was, he enjoyed singing along with his music every time he heard it on the radio.
"It would come on the radio and I could sing right along with it," Woolard said.
He said one of the reasons he enjoys Johnny Cash's music is because it is derived from real life experiences and emotions.
"It is just [a] kind of a real feeling when you sing his songs," Woolard said.
The idea to form a band with Cash as the theme came when Woolard and Tucker were playing together one day.
Tucker said he notice how Woolard's baritone voice could easily sound like Cash.
And the two decided to create a band that would continue to share the sounds of Johnny Cash with audiences. Tucker said they knew what they were going to play, but it took watching the movie to decide what level they would take their showmanship.
"We did not think [we were going to dress in] tuxedoes or anything like that," Tucker said. "Then the movie 'Walk The Line' came out and we saw it and we were like yeah, lets do it."
So for the last two semesters, these Texas A&M students have been dedicating time to both their academic pursuits and putting on shows in the true Cash fashion. The band performs the songs in outfits similar to Johnny Cash's band's wardrobe during the 1950's.
In the short time that they have been together, they have been able to fine tune their performance and look to attract attention that could help them achieve their goal of playing for large audiences.
"We wan[t] to play [a] big show. We are up for review for Austin City Limits and that would definitely be a big show if we got it," Tucker said.
The group is excited about the possibly, but they said they understand it could be a long shot. So as they wait for word on big venues, they practice their arrangements to make sure when they perform the audience will enjoying a real Johnny Cash show.
"If I could just make everybody love the music, that is what I want," Woolard said.
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