Revisiting the life and music of the Man in Black

Paul Anthony brings his Johnny Cash tribute band to The Registry Theatre for Sept. 8 concert

Last updated on Aug 24, 23

Posted on Aug 24, 23

3 min read

The music of Johnny Cash, one of the most successful country singers of all time, will be on display at Kitchener’s Registry Theatre next month.

Ontario resident Paul Anthony has been a fan of Cash since 1965. Since then, he has gone to great lengths to imitate the singer-songwriter’s music as closely as he can via Paul Anthony and his Tennessee 3 Show Band.

“Growing up in the home, my mom and dad listened to him. My story is no different than anyone else’s, I just took it one step further and learned music notes for note, word for word, lyrics for lyrics, story for story,” said Anthony, who is known as “the preacher in the Church of Johnny Cash.”

While many singers defined that era of music, including Roy Orbison, Gary Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, several things set Cash apart, said Anthony

“His sincere stories. His willingness to help the people of the other side of the tracks or the less fortunate. He talked about them and he sang about them. His lyrics, his baritone voice, his rhythm in songs, he was so different than anyone else. Not only lyrically, but created the music that they didn’t realize would become such a phenomenon over the years.”

Over his career, Cash sold more than 90 million copies of his albums. He still gets several million streams a month today, nearly 20 years after his death in September 2003, Anthony said.

“He’s the only one that passed on that’s still doing that.”

The final album from Cash that was released before his death, “American IV: The Man Comes Around,” featured his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt.”

The music video of that song was filmed at the musician’s former home in Tennessee while he was suffering from health complications. The video shows images and clips from Cash’s career and personal life intercut with him sitting at a table filled with decaying food. Toward the end of the video, Cash shakily lifts a wine glass and pours it onto the table.

That cover had a great impact on Anthony, he explained.

“When you watch the video of John singing that track, how troubled he was even physically holding that wineglass or hardly being able to hold that wineglass and then just spilling that wine all over the place, knowing that life is that difficult. Not only did he show it musically, he showed it, lyrically and he showed it physically.

“If that song didn’t impact you in one way or another, then I would say that would be the listeners’ or the viewers’ fault. It’s probably the best-messaged song in the entire world since John recreated that song,” he said.

Anthony himself produced a cover of the song, which has become the final tune he plays at his shows. While Anthony said it is challenging to live up to Cash’s legacy, he tries to share it from his heart.

“So then it becomes the most natural thing to do is to share John’s music, with 100 per cent sincerity so when you’re giving yourself to share the legacy of another human being and all of their great work you can’t possibly go wrong,” he said.

Anthony starts every one of his shows by telling the audience that he is not Johnny Cash.

“We’re there for one reason only: to share Johnny Cash. The people who buy tickets and who are sitting in the seats are there for one reason: to receive a show from someone that wants to deliver the life and music of Johnny Cash….That night, we will be the circle of the Johnny Cash legacy,” he said.

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Revisited takes to the stage at The Registry Theatre September 8 at 8 p.m. For more information, see

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