Man in Black Joey Lee Lawlor walks the line with Cash tribute

A FAN of Johnny Cash's music since childhood, Bohernabreena native Joey Lee Lawlor performs Johnny Cash covers with passion and enthusiasm as part of tribute band ‘Walk the Line’.

Joey is also a country musician in his own right, having secured an IMRO Award for Best Alternative Country Song for his original composition 'Son of Lucifer', while his track 'Dublin to Memphis' secured the top spot on the Irish country music iTunes chart.

Joey Lee Lawlor Collage

Now gearing up for a busy week of gigs where Joey will bring his storming performance as ‘The Man in Black’ to the masses, Joey took some time out to speak to his local paper about his music.

You've toured and recorded in Memphis Tennessee, what's the reaction like when you're there?

Very good, the gigs went down really well. And my song 'Dublin to Memphis' went down really well too, it's about fellas that came out of Memphis who've influence me – like Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. When I was younger, my dad used to fix gramophones, and a lot of the records he played on them were from Sun Studio, where lots of records from the likes of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis were recorded. So the song is about the idea of going to Memphis, where all these musicians were from, and making my way back to Dublin.

Are there any other songs you can tell me about?

My latest song 'Son of Lucifer', which was released last September, was filmed in a cowboy ranch in Bohernabreena called Riverfox Ranch. The ranch is owned by 'The Cowboy' Mick Morris, and then Bill Byrne – a Tallaght man – built a Stagecoach. A man called Lawrence John, who has a show on Sky Arts, came down from Belfast and he was with us when we were on location shooting the video.

What's your favourite Johnny Cash song to play?

The most popular song is 'Folsom Prison Blues', but my favourite song to play changes all the time. I love playing 'Hurt' at the moment.

What's been your highlight, performing as part of Walk the Line, so far?

Walk The Line is a hobby, everyone in the band has day jobs. But it's a hobby that is a passion, and there have been a lot of highlights, in particular playing big music festivals. We seem to be winning people over at our shows, and now they're asking for our original songs, which is great. Also, Johnny Cash's sister got in touch with us after she saw 'Dublin to Memphis', which was amazing.

What's a surprising Johnny Cash fact you can tell me?

At one of my shows I was talking about Johnny Cash going crazy, and then a woman in the audience came up and told me that she once saw Johnny Cash play live in Dublin years and years ago. She said that he lay on the floor, looking at the ceiling, just lying on his back for the whole night singing.

And what about a surprising fact about you?

I'm the total opposite of Johnny Cash, I'm very quiet in real life despite what I'm like when I'm on stage performing.

You're a father of seven, how do your children react when they see you on stage?

They're kind of used to it by now! I was reading Johnny Cash's autobiography a while ago, and in it he said that of everything in his life, he'd be content knowing that he was a good father and I feel the same way.

You can keep up to date with Joey's music on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/joeyleelawlor.

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