Johnny Cash tribute to ‘Walk the Line’ at VFW

Bill Forness brings his Johnny Cash tribute show to the Waterloo VFW on Nov. 23. (submitted photo)

Bill Forness has been embodying one of America’s most-loved musicians for four years and will be bringing his talent to Waterloo on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Forness, who is part of a Johnny Cash tribute act, plans to perform Cash’s many different styles as a part of his show at the Waterloo VFW.

“I absolutely love the music, so it’s great to be able to play these songs,” Forness said.

Forness and One More Round will fill out a full Johnny Cash experience by playing songs from Cash’s early days all the way up to his 90’s music.

“There’s such a wide variety of styles in that year range, so I really enjoy that,” Forness said.

The group has played at a large variety of venues, including many of the same ones Cash performed at when he was on tour.

“We’re lucky to be able to perform as much as we do,” Forness said. “We’ve heard so many different stories and learned a lot (about Cash).”

Whether it’s at a college or a VFW hall, Forness and his bandmates cater to the crowd they are playing for.

“We try to look the part as much as possible,” Forness said of the group’s performances. “We keep it real simple, like he did, along with a little bit of theatrics.”

Bill Forness performs as Johnny Cash. (submitted photo)

The instrumentation remains the same, though.

Forness is originally from Belleville, but has never played in Waterloo before. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I love to play VFW shows because it’s a smaller, more intimate setting,” he said. “We’re starting to play more hometown-type places.”

One of the things that has interested Forness about performing as Cash is the “enormous” range of age in fans, citing that he has seen fans as young as three years old.

The movie “Walk The Line” that came out in 2005, two years after Cash died, drew in many younger fans, he said.

“There’s a whole lot of truth in that film,” he said. “It’s helped the younger generation appreciate him.”

Forness said he loves that he gets to pay tribute to a man who was not only a musician, but a humanitarian as well.

“He went far beyond the call of being a performer,” Forness said. “He helped out with Native Americans and prison reform and raised a ton of money.”

In January, the group will move their tour down to Florida and work their way back up to the Midwest for Cash’s birthday celebration at the Pageant in St. Louis in February.

Forness’ dream is to go to Japan to tour, though.

“We have a lot of fans in Japan and Thailand who just love Johnny Cash,” he said.

But for now, Forness and his other group members will grace the Waterloo VFW with their talents on Nov. 23.

The doors will open at 6 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $24 at the door. They can be purchased at Waterloo Rural King or by calling 314-329-8383.

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