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Area Entertainment: Johnny Cash and Friends Tribute Show [part 2]

Welcome back! This is the last part on this amazing show. I will introduce you to some of the band and dive into the life of Dan Wagner. 

First, this band has many years of musicianship between all of them. Three of them onstage had worked with Johnny Cash at one time or another. Others have worked other well-known people over the years.  

Dan shares stories about his life, his band and their lives. Dan has been through a very rough time in his life at the loss of his 19-year-old daughter. His daughters mean everything to him. They've helped with his shows through the years and inspired him. Dan had an Elvis tribute show called, "The Danny Elvis Show." He is a songwriter, singer, musician, designer of one-of-a-kind guitars, builder, restorer and so much more! Dan is a very gifted and talented man. He is humble and you can tell that he loves what is he is doing. He doesn't want to be exactly like Johnny, he just wants everyone to get a closer feel of him. I'm a hard person to please about voices, overall sound, harmony and music. 

Jay Daversa is the band director and has played with many well-known people that includes, but not limited to Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Tony Orlando, Andy Williams, Wayne Newton and so many more. Jay began playing at the age of six in his father's dance band. While serving in the Army, he played in the 6th Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco. He has played music for television, musicals and movies. He is also a producer and educator. You can find more information on Jay at .

Terry Laird is a gifted pianist. He was a part of "The Texans" in Nashville. He has played with many well-known people. He has played with Johnny Cash as well. 

Drew Axley is the flutist and saxophonist of the band. He has given lessons for the saxophone. He does a wonderful job. 

John Byrne is a talented upright bass man. He has played with several people and has a very caring, giving heart. 

George Geisser plays a good steel guitar and guitar for the show. George has played with Johnny Cash, too. He does a wonderful job. You can find George in his own George Jones Tribute Show at the IMAX. Here's his info: .

I didn't scare the following two off with my questions; they humored me. Dan answered them for me last week. Thank you!

Questions asked:

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

2. What do you like doing as your hobby?

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

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

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


Mary Ann Daversa is a beautiful multi-instrument, back-up vocalist. She really knows how to multi-task.  Here's a little about Mary Ann. 

1. I was born in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, but lived in Ada, Oklahoma, for most of my early years. Been in Branson for quite a while. 

2. Greatly Influenced by both parents: Dad, Austin Kidwell, was a school band director and also had his own dance band (his entire life) performing in OK. Mom was a singer in radio days and organized Civic Singers in Ada.

3. I would like to have lunch with Elvis, so I could ask him about his cousin Jerry (Presley). I want to ask Elvis in that "fantasy luncheon," what he thought of my trumpet playing husband!? (Jay played the only California Tour that Elvis ever made back in 1974! We were just children then, of course.)  But we do have the CD that is being sold at Graceland, of that tour!

4. Rare moment:  

Andy Williams bringing a band chair on stage, for our son John, to sit on during rehearsals. John had come into town from LA, to play trumpet in the Moon River Fall Season (2001) and Andy had never heard him play, so I was nervous. The king was pleased. We toured England with Andy together. John, his dad and I. Jay also played a season with Andy and the band (subbing for Paul Von Adam), so the three Daversa musicians all got to work for Andy Williams. What a privilege! 

5. Greatest influences: great piano, and flute and voice teachers and my talented family members! 


Brian Duvall (drummer) has a life event that was serious about him. If you ever have the opportunity to ask him about it, do! Here's his answers to my questions. 

1. I was born in Madisonville, KY. In Branson since ‘93.

2. Collecting drums, I have around 70 drum sets and over 100 snare drums. Mostly Ludwig and some as old as 1930s.

3. Meeting new people is always my favorite part of playing and traveling.

4. Have a meal: Jesus. Have a jam session: Paul.

5. Peter Criss from Kiss was my second drum hero; my brother was my first. 


Barbara originally from Wisconsin, now lives in Branson, was blessed with the gift of a guitar at the first show I attended, and Hunter from Nebraska was blessed with a gift of a guitar at the second show I was at. Dan and his daughters years ago during his shows started the tradition of giving the gift of music through the gift of a guitar.

Music changes lives and Dan loves to share. He has received messages back on how those gifts have changed lives. 


Sarah Joy is a guest star on June 21 as June Carter and Loretta Lynn.


Layne Victoria will be guest starring in the show as June Carter and Loretta Lynn during July and August.  


Please go see this show. You will enjoy yourself for sure! 

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