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Leaving Jackson

THE ICONIC LOVE story of Johnny Cash and June Carter is one for the ages, partners in life and in music. For more than 40 years, they enthralled audiences around the world with their songs of life, love and heartache.

By Tierney Seccull

This month, you’re invited to Darwin Entertainment Centre for a trip down memory lane, with two hours of live music, stories and songs based on the performances of Johnny Cash.

Jeff Carter plays the role of Cash, and says his music has always resonated with him.

“I’ve always been a big lover of music that told a story, and when you listen to Johnny Cash especially, every song is a story of the fight and struggle that we all go through in life – especially as musicians, everything seems a bit harder for us for some reason, and I could relate to the songs,” he says.

“The songs for me were like singing songs that were written about my life, so it was quite easy to do.”

Carter is joined by singer, songwriter and dancer Melanie Lewin in the role of June, and has nothing but high praise for his onstage partner.

“She is awesome. She's almost overqualified, you know? [laughs] … Mel really picked up the character traits straight away – little bit witty, little bit dizzy, little bit funny, little bit happy-go-lucky,” he says.

“But the girl can sing, oh my god can she sing. When it comes to live performing, I don’t think I’ve worked with a better singer and, if anything, it makes me have to work harder to keep up with her, ‘cause she’s so good!”

Stepping into the shoes to portray such a legendary artist might be a daunting task, but for Cash look-a-like Carter, he tries to emulate the feelings the music legend would have felt.

“The first period was difficult, because you’re playing one of the most iconic musicians on the planet. For me personally – because I look a bit like him, I had that part of it down – I just had to sing the songs as though they were about me,” he says.

“To connect with the songs, and connect with why people love his music, that was the most important thing. I go out there and sing the songs like they are mine. I’m the one who is suffering, I’m the one who’s struggling, and I’m the one who’s celebrating.

“That’s the good thing about crowds, and especially Australian crowds, is we really love that. What you want is someone to put 100 per cent into the performance, and nothing less. Whatever happens has to have 100 per cent put into the performance, and I work every day to make myself better. I love it. I wouldn’t do anything else, that’s for sure.”

Leaving Jackson: The Johnny Cash and June Carter Show
WHEN FRI 16 SEP | 7.30PM
COST $62 | $55 CONC/GROUP $22 CHILD (3-18)

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