Husband-and-wife duo Cyndi Cantrell and Jimmy Ray began performing together in 1994. - johnnycashvegastribute.com

Ring of Fire at Johnny B's

The Man in Black is back.

Jimmy Ray and his Johnny Cash Tribute Band pay sincere acknowledgment to the life and times of Johnny Cash when they perform fun-filled selections of the man's hit songs.

There's something magical that happens when the first notes of "Folsom Prison Blues" open the tribute band's shows, according to Ray's Web site. That's when the Cash impersonator knows how much folks still love the outlaw cowboy.

Ray and his band will present shows at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, April 24, at Johnny B's, 35 S. Bartlett St., Medford. Fiddler Don "Juan" Maddox and a group of his friends will open the show with songs by the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Bob Wills and others. The 7 p.m. show is open to all ages.

"I can't believe how much Jimmy Ray sounds like Johnny Cash," says John Bach, owner of Johnny B's. "His approach to Cash's legacy is from the heart."

Ray can tailor the act to be anything from an acoustic duo with his wife to a 10-piece outfit. The show can be tailored to fit any venue.

"They're paid a lot of money to perform in Vegas," Bach says. "They wouldn't normally play a small place like mine on a weekend. But when I told them that Don Maddox would be here, that was the deal breaker."

Maddox and his brothers and sister Rose were pioneers of the country music genre in the 1940s and '50s in California. They played country standards, old-time music and gospel. Rose Maddox died in 1998.

Along with his full band and wife Cyndi Cantrell, Ray's tribute shows incorporate music from decades of Cash and June Carter's career.

"Cyndi is a big part of the act," Bach says. "She does impersonations of June Carter, Patsy Cline, Minnie Pearl and Loretta Lynn. The two of them sound exactly like Cash and Carter."

Ray and Cantrell began developing their act when they married and began singing together in 1994. Ray grew up in North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee and California, and has led various groups over the years. Cantrell is the daughter of a preacher and was raised on country and gospel music.

Ray and his group are in Oregon on a Veterans of Foreign Wars benefit tour, with shows in Eugene, Redmond and Klamath Falls.

Cover for the shows at Johnny B's is $10, or $15 for both shows.

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