The Jack Richardson London Music Awards (JRLMA) will be heating up February by making it hotter than a pepper sprout.
If that sounds like the words to Jackson — the signature song of country superstars June Carter and Johnny Cash — it should. The JRLMA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cash’s on-stage proposal to Carter on Feb. 22, 1968 at the old London Gardens with a country music gala 50 years to the day after it happened.
Thursday, Feb. 22, at the London Music Hall, JRLMA is presenting Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever.
“If someone is a fan of Johnny Cash, or if you never really know much about him, then this is a great event for you,” said JRLMA founder Mario Circelli. “I hope people will come away with a new connection to Johnny Cash.”
Guests of honour for the evening include W.S. “Fluke” Holland, Cash’s drummer who was behind the kit at the iconic 1968 London Gardens show, and Tommy Cash, Johnny’s younger brother.
Tommy Cash is the younger brother of the country music icon, but also an accomplished musician himself.
After serving in the Army, Tommy Cash played with Hank Williams Jr. before going on to score a number of Billboard hits. In 1969 he delivered his biggest hit, a tune dedicated to John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King entitled, Six White Horses.
Tommy Cash continues to tour, is a motivational speaker and the voice behind dozens of television commercials.
Another highlight of the evening, in addition to a Q&A session with Holland and Cash, JRLMA winners The Marrieds perform a tribute to Johnny and June. Not only will they recreate the celebrated proposal, but they will also perform several songs with guest appearances by Holland and Cash.
In addition to marking the anniversary, Circelli said the show will also offer Londoners the chance to celebrate one of their own.
Saul Holiff, who died in 2005, was Cash’s manager for some 17 years, guiding the troubled singer through many of his most difficult years where he dealt with addiction, keeping him on the path to superstardom.
“Saul orchestrated the Folsom Prison show, he was instrumental in bringing June Carter into the act; Johnny Cash is irrevocably linked to London and the reason for that is Saul Holiff,” Circelli said. “It’s because of Saul that Johnny became a superstar. So, we wanted to pay homage to Saul, and pay tribute to Johnny and June, and what better way to do that then by commemorating the 50th anniversary of that special night.”
More London musicians will be joining the show and other guests who know the Cash-Carter-London story will be in London for the event or during Jack Richardson London Music Week, which is set for April 8-15.
Filmmaker Jonathan Holiff and author Julie Chadwick, for example, will be in London on Sunday, April 15 as London and the JRLMA continue to celebrate that hot February night, as well as the organization’s annual awards gala.