Treasure Island Park to host ‘World’s Premier Johnny Cash Tribute’


By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

TROY — It’s been almost 20 years since Terry Lee Goffee first started performing the World’s Premier Johnny Cash Tribute, but his appreciation for the original Man in Black’s music began much earlier than that.

“I probably heard my first Johnny Cash record when I was four or five years old,” Goffee said. “My dad brought home the very first Sun record that Sam Phillips released and put it on the turntable.”

“That was the first time I heard Johnny’s voice,” he said. “By the time I was eight years old, I was a die-hard fan of Johnny Cash.”

Goffee and his full backing band will perform at Troy’s Treasure Island Park on Friday, June 25. Sponsored by the city of Troy in conjunction with the Western Ohio Bicycle Adventure, the free show starts at 7:30 p.m., and the event will also include food trucks.

Originally from Cambridge, Goffee has been performing the Johnny Cash tribute since 2002, and his portrayal of the country and gospel music legend is uncanny to say the least. Goffee doesn’t just resemble Cash physically; his voice is eerily identical to Johnny Cash, and his performance has passed the ultimate test of authenticity, securing the approval of Cash’s surviving family members.

“We did our show for two nights in 2003 at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville,” Goffee said. “Johnny’s sister Joanne came out on Friday night with her husband Harry, and then Tommy Cash and his wife came out on Saturday. They got to see the show kind of early on; it was probably just about a year into the tribute.”

“It was nice, and they were both very complimentary after the show,” he said. “In fact, since then we’ve done four or five concerts with Joanne. She’s actually a gospel singer, and she and her husband pastor a church in Nashville. Then three weeks ago, I was in Nashville recording a new album, and Joanne was gracious enough to agree to come to the studio and record a duet with me on one of the songs.”

Goffee was also featured as part of an eight-part Irish documentary on American country music. “That was fun,” he said. “They had contacted our agent and asked if I would meet them at Sun Studios and do an interview, and in fact they asked me to sing a little bit of a song; so, I sang the first verse and chorus of Give My Love to Rose.”

Goffee and the World’s Premier Johnny Cash Tribute will perform two other shows in Ohio after their appearance in Troy, and the group is already booked throughout the entire summer and fall. “It’s interesting,” Goffee said. “It seems like the longer Johnny is gone, the more popular he gets.”

“We’re excited about coming to Troy,” Goffee said. “We hope folks will come out and just have a good time with us and enjoy the music. If they’re not Johnny Cash fans when they show up, we hope they will be by the time the show’s over.”

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