Saturday, 11 April 2009

Vince Mira - Cash Cabin Sessions (Lucky Rebel Records)

Track listing: Cold Hearted Woman, Blistered, Lonely Heart, Closer, I Was the Train, Ring of Fire, I Walk the Line (Spanish), Ring of Fire (Spanish)

I hadn’t heard of Vince Mire until recently, when I was blown away by his debut album, Cash Cabin Sessions on Lucky Rebel Records. He’s apparently making a big stir in the States, having already appeared on national tv on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America. Audiences seem to be captivated by such a young guy being so good at doing Johnny Cash you’d swear he was at least twenty years older. While it might have proven a good gimmick to get him some attention, there’s more substance to him than just that. His original songs are great and he’s not so much a JC impersonator, he’s more of a JC interpreter.

Vince Mira was born in Los Angles but raised in San Antonio, Texas. A couple of year ago he was playing for tips in Seattle's Pike Place Market where he was discovered by entertainment producer Chris Snell, owner of Seattle night club, the Can Can. Like a man with a badly broken neck, he’s never looked back. Next came the tv exposure before finally getting signed to a recording contract. Due to his Hispanic roots, he’s been given the wonderful nickname, "Juanny Cash".

His first album is produced by John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June. Mira had the privilege of recording it at the Cash Cabin (built by Johnny Cash) in Nashville, Tennessee. The first thing that strikes you is the amazing voice he has for someone so young. He was fifteen when he laid down these tracks! Another highlight is the quality of the band the great sound that John CC has created. Jamie Hartford is hotter than a Vernon Presley cheque and David Roe is about the best in the business, having slapped the bass for Dwight Yoakam and Johnny Cash himself.

The album blasts into live with Cold Hearted Woman, with Hartford playing pure Sun Records rockabilly guitar and Mira proving that he ain’t just a JC soundalike. The ballad Lonely Heart sounds like CMT hit fodder, while there’s an Irish folk quality to Closer. I Was The Train is nothing short of brilliant. A tribute to Johnny and Hank Williams that stands up there with Rodney Crowell’s Walk The Line Revisited or Alan Jackson’s Mignight In Montgomery. High praise indeed, but truly justified.

There’s a handful of Cash covers, and they all work well. Blistered is a stunning version of JC’s much underrated uptempo country bopper. Female backing vocals add the icing on the cake – and what a cake it is. Ring of Fire is good but perhaps he’d have been better doing something like obvious. That’s why Blistered worked so well. The album closes with Spanish versions of Ring Of Fire and I Walk The Line, both of which should find a massive market in pockets of the States. I hope this CD sells by the bucket-load and that Miraa and JCC get to work together on the follow-up.

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