By Veronika Kallus
Anyone with an affection for Johnny Cash and out for a straightforward treat will enjoy “A boy named Cash” as a showcase of the star’s best known songs, performed with skill and delivered with warmth and enthusiasm.
Monty Cotton’s greatest hits tribute includes for example very traditionally performed songs like Folsom Prison Blues, A Boy named Sue, Ring of Fire or I Walk the Line. He also chose songs to demonstrate Cash’s guitar technique, as in the Cocaine Blues, originally by T.Y.Arnall and famously performed by Cash at Folsom Prison.
The well entertained listeners experienced another highlight, when Cotton got a surprised female audience member on stage to assist him in performing Jackson, a duet often sung by Johnny Cash and June Carter. The most cheers and laughter were heard, though, when Monty Cotton put his own interpretation qualities at front and started a medley of songs he thought Cash might have covered during the last few years, after his death in 2003. Not to give away too much, but hearing artists like Britney Spears or Rage against the Machine in a Johnny Cash voice was delightful. This climax was fittingly followed by Cotton’s version of Cash’s cover version of Hurt, his last hit, originally by the Nine Inch Nails.
Monty Cotton, from Sydney, was a fulltime accountant, dedicating only his weekends to music. In 2012 he realised, that he could imitate Johnny Cash to a degree of recognition that has led him to countless performances across Australia as well as Europe. During his performance in Edinburgh, it was very clear that he has his own voice, soft, smooth, young. Having realised that, it was truly baffling to hear Ghostriders in the Sky – with closed eyes it could have been the real Cash standing on stage, Cotton’s voice being absolutely spot on.
Anecdotes and short stories about the musician complete this performance, the plain stage and setting directing all focus on the boy named Monty Cotton.