I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine,
I walk the line
― Johnny Cash, I Walk the Line
Recently, on a cold night in January, we stood in the queue outside Edinburgh's iconic landmark, The Usher Hall, waiting to hear the legendary music from ‘the Man in Black’. Of course, the real Johnny Cash passed away in 2003, but we were there to see the tribute show- The Johnny Cash Roadshow. It’s the only one endorsed by the Cash family, so we had high expectations, and we’ll come back to our review in just a bit. But first we need to discuss the incredible concert venue where it took place.
The Usher Hall was built in 1910 and was the brainchild of Andrew Usher, a wealthy brewer, who wanted to build a premier musical venue for artists and performers. According to Usher Hall, he first started to conceive of the idea in 1896 and gave the City of Edinburgh £100,000 for it to be built. Unfortunately, he died in 1898 before the building project even started. However, fittingly, his widow opened the Hall in 1914.
I have quite a fondness for Beaux-Arts architecture (think Paris in the mid to late 1800s epitomised by the Palais Garnier) and aspects of it can be found throughout Usher Hall's exterior (see the photo at the beginning of the article) and interior as evidenced by the photos below.
Usher Hall is renowned for its superb acoustics and has seen a number of incredible artists grace its stage over the years, including Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Cat Stevens, Elton John, as well as the real Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, to name just a few. Notably, Usher Hall has been the main venue for the Edinburgh International Festival since 1947.
Sitting in such an historic building was quite the privilege. During our January evening concert, listening to the deep, rich vocals of Clive John, it was as if the real Johnny Cash was still with us. Without a doubt, the Johnny Cash Roadshow was an absolutely fantastic musical event, and we highly recommend you go see it in person if you get the chance.
In addition to Clive John, he was joined by his ‘June', the immensely talented Meghan Thomas. Together, their lovely harmonies evoked the timeless sounds of Johnny and June. The evening was filled with classic Cash songs throughout the years including his time with the country music super group, the Highwaymen. The highlight of the evening was the band's rousing rendition of Ring of Fire.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief visit to the iconic Usher Hall. For more information on upcoming shows at Usher Hall please head over to their website. The Johnny Cash Roadshow is currently on tour throughout the UK, and you can find out more about them including some of Clive's original music on their website.
Until next time- Explore & Discover!