WARREN, Pa. – When the man comes around, he’s telling stories with songs, picking a guitar, and letting the bass in his voice echo throughout the room.
That man wasn’t the original Man in Black, but rather Terry Lee Goffee. Although, those in attendance Friday night at Struthers Library Theatre wouldn’t have known the difference as the “World’s Premier Johnny” tribute artist took the audience on a musical locomotive from “I Walk the Line” to “A Boy Named Sue” and many more favorites of the late country music legend Johnny Cash.
Goffee, who has performed twice before locally, both at the Warren County Fair, made sure to play one song he knows is particularly special to the local community and history of not just Warren County, but Native Americans, and U.S. history, “As Long as the Grass Shall Grow” from Cash’s 1964 album “Bitter Tears: Ballads of an American Indian” that details the loss of land owned by the Seneca Nation for centuries, for the construction of the Kinzua Dam built across the Allegheny River.
“I think it is absolutely more meaningful to perform a song in close proximity to where the events described in the song actually took place,” Goffee said. “Similar to performing ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ at Folsom Prison. I always get an extra surge of emotion in a situation like that.”
Goffee’s performance of Cash hits had the crowd both young and old mesmerized by the accuracy of his show, which can both be credited to Goffee himself and the timeless music of Johnny Cash that took even those who may never have experienced the Highwayman’s music live back to a time of great American country.
“While Johnny’s music has the ability to transcend a variety of differences, and even though themes are universal, I believe country folks can relate more closely to the stories found in John’s songs,” Goffee said of performing in rural locations such as Warren County. “Growing up in a family of cotton farmers gave Johnny a shared experience with other rural families.”
Goffee performs nationwide, with numerous upcoming shows in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. Tour dates and locations can be found at www.terryleegoffee.com. Struthers Library Theatre will be hosting the S.L.T. Academy “Holiday Special: Christmas Cabaret” on December 1 and 2, as well as a showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on December 20. Tickets can be purchased at www.strutherslibrarytheatre.org.