Johnny Cash tribute rocks

the Oak Bay Beach Hotel's Almost Johnny Cash continues weekends through Nov. 21.

David James

David James

“Hello, I’m almost Johnny Cash.”

For fans of the “Man in Black,” it’s an introduction that let’s them know they’re in for a special evening.

The man wearing the black in this case is David James, who, backed by the three members of Big River, is currently sharing some of Johnny Cash’s biggest hits and favourite stories with audiences at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

The music follows a delicious three-course dinner from the hotel’s new executive chef, Kreg Graham, featuring a salad with oven-dried tomato and chorizo vinaigrette, bourbon-braised beef short ribs with smoked onion potato purée and heirloom carrots, and apple tart with oat crumble and candied almonds.

Taking the stage around 8:30 p.m., Adams entertained audiences with a whole host of hits, from I Walk the Line and A Boy Named Sue to Ring of Fire and Folsom Prison Blues, mixed with a few lesser-known gems.

More than the sounds of Johnny Cash – which James hits brilliantly – it’s the look and feel of the show, set in the hotel’s David Foster Theatre, that helps make the experience.

Engaging the audience – “Hello, my name is Sue,” James calls loudly, waiting for the group response, “How do you do!” – hands were clapping and toes were tapping.

One of the world’s leading tribute artists in the business, James’ natural voice is complemented by the talented musicians that make up Big River. From the way Cash holds his guitar to the way he talks to his audience, the legendary musician lives again when James steps to the mic.

Almost Johnny Cash continues weekends through Nov. 21.

Come Dec. 4, it’s time for A Crooner’s Christmas featuring Kristina Helene and surprise guests as they recreate the sounds of Christmas past with holiday hits from Frank Sinatra, Brenda Lee, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and others. Coming in the new year is Double Diamond, a tribute to Neil Diamond.

Individual tickets for each dinner show are $89 per person, and include the pre-show reception, a three-course gourmet meal prepared by the hotel’s culinary team, and the evening performance. An early reception begins at 6 p.m. with dinner service starting at 7 p.m. And, new for 2015/16, dinner show tickets may be booked online at