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Area Entertainment: Johnny Cash and Friends [Part 1]

I am making a two-part series for my article this week. I had the pleasure of attending the Johnny Cash and Friends tribute show at the God and Country Theaters twice in a week. I was filled with so much information that it is overflowing. My husband John and I attended together the first time and as we were leaving, I accidentally deleted my entire notes that I took through the show. I guess God wanted me to attend again to absorb it all.


Dan Wagner (Johnny Cash) has you so enthralled from the moment he comes onto stage to the very end of the show. He takes you through Johnny's life by song and sights. He has video backgrounds play at just the right spots. He is surrounded by some of the most outstanding, talented band members out there. And this includes a brass/horn section, drums that are not overpowering, top-notch pianist, upright bass, and guitar. He has one of the most beautiful backup vocalists, all around multi-tasking instrument playing and friendly, Ms. Mary Ann. 


A Johnny Cash Tribute Show wouldn't be complete without his June Carter Cash joining him onstage—the multi-talented Ms. Diana Lynn, along with some "other guests."


So, I asked Dan a few questions. Of course, you ought to know by now they are going to be my questions!



1.     Where were you born, and how long have you been in Branson?

Dan: I was born in the Badlands of North Dakota just south of Canada and east of Montana. My travels have taken me to lots of different communities. My ancestry takes me back in history to unknown places all over North America prior to the official founding of this nation. The land, the people, the spirituality that exist in Branson is real and it is inviting. This is my first year living here, but I have spent a fair amount of time here as a visitor. In past years I have performed at Legends as well as private events on the lake.


2.     What do you like doing as your hobby?

Dan: I am a builder. The line between hobby and work here is blurred as I enjoy making new things, repairing/rebuilding old things. I have designed and built my own homes, restored old cars, designed and built guitars, furniture, art pieces and done it with the attitude that I am creating functional art. I have been blessed that some of these things attained good value and are desired by people that were willing to purchase these art pieces whether it be a home, an old car, or a guitar.


3.     What is a memorable event that happened to you during a show or traveling to one?

Dan: I performed for the Fargo, North Dakota Marathon, for many years. I was so inspired by the people that would run this race. I have seen people in their 90s, people with one leg and a prosthetic, people with no legs pedaling a cart with their hands, terminal cancer patients, people that are overweight or have other major health issues all making the decision to take on a bucket list experience that is so difficult and to actually make it happen. Witnessing this has been truly inspirational. 


4.     If you could have a meal or jam session with anyone - dead or alive, who would it be?

Dan: If I could have a jam session with anyone on this earth or off, I would choose my daughter Cora Wagner. She went to be with Jesus because of a motorcycle accident at 19 years old. She inspired me and promoted everything good inside of me. She was my favorite drummer, and I would love to be anywhere with her.


5.     Who was your inspiration to get involved in entertainment?

Dan: My parents were my greatest inspiration to pursue music. It was always about how to create an experience... not necessarily entertain but to make people feel good, to touch one's spirit, to bring our emotions to life. To experience something soul moving inside of ourselves that was made possible by some chords of music and some words that bring us joy, sadness, inspiration, feelings of love and/or passion. 


I have traveled to many places and gotten to share not only music, but exciting life experiences with people from all walks of life whether it be a NASA rocket scientist, president, vice president, grocer, mechanic, doctor, nurse, lawn care worker, seamstress, lawyer, janitor, teacher, farmer, rancher, and many more because I showed up. This thing called music brought us all together on common ground. I am blessed to be here in Branson sharing these experiences. 


Remember to come back next week for the final segment to this series. In the meantime, come out and witness this outstanding performance by:

Dan Wagner: Johnny Cash 

Diana Lynn: June Carter Cash 

Jay Daversa: Trumpet and music director

Mary Ann Daversa: Multi-instrument/vocals 

Charlie Rastofer: Trombone 

Drew Axley: Saxophone/flute

Terry Laird: Piano/vocals 

Brian Duvall: Drums

John Byrne: Upright bass

George Geiser: Lead guitar


Contact the God and Country Theaters through their website: – All Shows/All Theaters: Johnny Cash & Friends Tribute; visit God and Country Theaters at 1840 W. 76 Country Blvd.; or phone 417-334-6806.


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