Church Of Cash @ Daryl’s House 3-15-23 -Recap By: Ed Conway

Written by on March 17, 2023

In the world of tribute acts, many of whom are quite good, there are a few that really stand out.  What sets them apart from the usual suspects is their ability to play their respective concerts as if the original artists themselves were performing the show live.  Many other acts will take a note for note approach, but these understand both the artist and the songs and can craft an entire show around the essence of the songs they’re covering.  Rather than copying the original songs, they can get out of the box and add some personality and showmanship without losing sight of the original artist’s vision.  The first band I saw do this was Jimmy Vivino and the Fab Faux with their Beatle’s show.  Their style matched the originals perfectly.  Well, on a Wednesday night in Pawling, NY, I saw another band do this.  The Church Of Cash, took Johnny Cash’s music and performed as if he were still leading his band.

Singer, Jay Kalk’s voice matched Cash’s tone and timber so closely, if you closed your eyes, you could almost picture Cash still out there singing.  Drummer Jonathon Tebest not only kept the beat, but also provided a second harmony throughout the night, and did perform lead vocals on at least one song.  Bassist Tony Wirth provided a third harmony when needed, as well as, keeping the bottom end on his Longhorn Bass.  With the lead vocals and the thunder set, all that was left was the lightning.  For this, the trio imported a guitar slinger from Italy.  Diego Geraci’s fleet fingers added to the mix with sometimes serious and sometimes playful, but always tasteful licks; showing some serious chops on “Miserlou.”  In order to prove to the audience Geraci really was from Italy, Kalk had him step to the mic to sing the Italian classic “Buonasera Signorina.”

The near capacity crowd was heavily into the show as the band ran through a good overview of Cash’s catalog, including later covers Cash did such as Nine Inch Nails’ song “Hurt.”  Part of the show was set aside for requests, and there were no shortage of interesting suggestions.  Beforehand the audience was reminded the band was going to play the well known songs, such as, “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Ghost Riders In The Sky” (which of course were saved for the end of the evening).  

This was their first show ever in New York and I hear they will be returning again next year.  Hopefully, they can find a place closer to the Capital District, but Daryl’s House would be just fine.\


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