Top 50 Groups/Duos: #49: The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash
Members:Mark Stuart (Vocals and guitar), Vance Hazen (Bass and backing vocals), Lars Albrecht (the telecaster), Jim Adair (Drums and Cymbals)
Sometimes it doesn’t take fame and fortune to earn fame and fortune. That is the case for the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash who have become one of the biggest small time bands to grace the country music scene. What began as a literal dream would end up becoming one of the most significant small time acts in the genre. Led by Mark Stuart the band has certainly earned the right to call themselves the bastard sons of the Man in Black, using inspiration from not only Johnny, but legends like Willy, Waylon and Merle in their music and performance as well as their writing and their lives.
The band began literally as a dream. Stuart began his musical journey as a member of a punk rock band, a position that was quickly fading for him. One night he had a dream that Johnny appeared to him as inspired him to build the band. Out of this came a country band, and one that was not willing to conform to the newer Nashville sound that was beginning its trek in the late 1990’s. Instead a former punk rocker took some buddies and formed a classical country band based around the idea of traditional sound, traditional quality, a little outlaw twist, and hard work to reach the top.
In fact, this small time band has become one of the hardest working touring acts on the small time circuit, traveling anywhere from their native San Diego to as far away and Germany to please their throng of committed cult fans. Probably the biggest highlights of this band’s career are the different moments of recognition they received not only from numerous high power music critics, but from the very men they based their image around. Cash gave the band his own personal permission to use his name, and the legend Willie Nelson invited them to participate in 1998 in his legendary 4th of July picnic for over 20,000 fans and have sense been a regular addition to his tours.
The Bastard Sons of Johnny may not be one of the biggest bands on radio or one of the top selling acts, but their commitment to classic country sound with a modern outlaw edge have impressed the masters and thousands of fans devoted to their success. What began as a simple dream has evolved into a career of successes many can only dream of and produced a band who have truly earned the right to call themselves the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash.