Rockabilly Reunion

What started as an impromptu jam session involving Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash became a pivotal moment in rock and roll history.
An engineer in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tenn., knew he was witnessing an event on December 4, 1956, he was unlikely to ever see again and had the foresight to record what has now become known as the “Million Dollar Quartet.”
It is that session, that natural chemistry, and “rockabilly” vibe that sparked the tribute show, “Cash, Killer and The King,” which is heading back to the Riverside Resort for the second time. While the show has only been in existence for a couple of years, the producer and tribute artist portraying Johnny Cash, Neil Morrow, is no stranger to the tribute business or Laughlin for that matter. His Cash portrayals in various forms and his slammin’ rockabilly shows have become staples at Laughlin venues and created a loyal fan base as a result. The show also stars Jacob Tolliver as Jerry Lee and Scot Bruce as Elvis.
Morrow, of Memphis Music Group, Inc., has traveled across the U.S. as well as Canada, Malaysia and Singapore with his long-running tribute show to Johnny Cash and June Carter, entitled, “Cash and Carter.” He has been featured in several shows performing the music of Johnny Cash. Morrow is also an in-demand musician and he was one of the members of John Stamos’ band Jessie & the Rippers, on the first episode of the spin-off TV show “Fuller House.”
“The show did stem from that infamous recording session at Sun Records,” Morrow told the Laughlin entertainer. “Honestly, I came up with the name “Cash, Killer & The King” instantaneously. It just had an interesting ring to it and it was kind of powerful who these guys were. Johnny Cash only had to go by “Cash” and you knew who they were talking about. “The Killer,” that’s Jerry Lee and, of course, everybody knew who The King was. So I thought a fun show featuring that high-energy rock and roll rockabilly music that these guys established in the ’50s, would be a great show. To have these three artists on stage as the show builds together — it’s kind of like a show they never gave. Of course, they all toured together in the ’50s, but that was before social media or television, for the most part, and they never got to capture that magic for a live audience. Of course, we can’t be them but we try to recreate the music pretty darn close and pretty authentic.
“We studied up how things were played in the band that I’ve got. I’m so proud of these guys because they also live this music and respect this music — and it’s spot on! It’s note for note. With this show, you’re not going to get some production of a musician who doesn’t understand the simplicity yet how complex rockabilly ’50s music was played. It’s not something we take lightly.
Morrow pointed out this show is not like the play “Million Dollar Quartet,” where there’s dialogue that the actors portray, dialogue that didn’t even exist.
“We do have dialogue but we’re giving facts to the audience and kind of taking them back to 1956 or 1955. We break the fourth wall, so to speak, with the audience and communicate with them and take them along for the ride. So we relay to the audience fun facts and key notes about the artists stating fact and fun little gidgets and gadgets about what happened back in those days,” he said.
“We really focus on the authenticity of the music. There’s no made up dialogue that didn’t exist, we’re not taking liberties, we’re going right off of what’s in the history books. It’s true to form, down to the guitars that were played to the upright bass. It’s a rockabilly band, it’s a ’50s rockabilly band. You think you’re back in 1956, I’m telling you. Even just talking about how authentic it is gives me goosebumps. That’s where it goes above and beyond anything else.
“Because I’m so in love with this music, I would never portray any artist in a cartoony kind of manner. I really try to find the authenticity in it. Although, I appreciated Elvis in every form of his career, you won’t see the white jumpsuit, hubba hubba, thank-you-very-much kind of stuff,” Morrow added.
“This is gonna be the young Elvis, 19-year-old, 20-something who was setting the world on fire with his raw energy. His sexual energy that he brought to the stage, with the music too, there are going to be a lot of happy women there.
The music will speak for itself. I think the audience is gonna want two shows a night, honestly. They’re gonna buy a ticket because maybe one of these guys meant something personally to them.
“I believe they’re going to leave with smiles on their faces and singing the songs for the rest of the night.”


CASH, KILLER, AND THE KING

Don’s Celebrity Theatre within the Riverside

Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 15-19 (7 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for tickets