This past Friday, Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys paid tribute to their friend and collaborator, Johnny Cash, at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 21st Annual Music Masters at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre in Cleveland. The Johnny Cash tribute concert, the pinnacle of a week of events paying tribute to the Man in Black, featured one-of-a-kind performances from The Oak Ridge Boys, Sam Bush, Paul Cauthen, Ana Cristina, Ira Dean, Nikki Lane, Terry McBride, Bill Miller, Charlie Worsham, Cash’s longtime drummer WS Holland, Mike Ness of Social Distortion, Eilen Jewell and L.A. punk band X, while John Carter Cash served as executive bandleader and keyboardist Tony Harrell as band director.
Each year, the Music Masters series explores the legacy of one of those pioneering figures through a range of events that includes Museum exhibits, lectures, films, a major conference and a tribute concert benefiting the Rock Hall’s education department. Drawing together music experts, artists, fans and friends, these events aim to provide new perspectives on some of the most beloved and influential musicians of the past century. The Music Masters series began in 1996 when the museum paid tribute to Woody Guthrie with a 10-day celebration of his life and legacy. Other honorees have included Aretha Franklin, Muddy Waters, Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, Janis Joplin, Jimmie Rodgers and more.