“The Big River Project: The Music of Johnny Cash”

“The Big River Project: The Music of Johnny Cash”

In 2008, David Spelman was hired by Arts World Financial Center to curate and produce The Big River Project, a celebration of the music of Johnny Cash. The free concert was part of the River To River Festival, and took place under the glass atrium of the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden.

Named for one of Cash’s signature songs, “The Big River Project: The Music of Johnny Cash” featured various musicians performing renditions of both familiar and obscure Cash masterpieces. Ollabelle served as the house band for an impressive collection of performers including John Doe, founding member of the legendary punk band, X; Jay Farrar of Son Volt; modern jazz legends the Benevento-Russo Duo; and renowned vocalist Catherine Russell. Additional acts included alt-Country phenom Laura Cantrell; legendary a cappella group, The Persuasions; Sway Machinery, which features musicians from Arcade Fire, Balkan Beat Box, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Tom Waits' band; top-flight singer/songwriter and 2008 Golden Globe nominee, Marshall Crenshaw; poignant soul-man Raul Midon; Brooklyn-based country-rock upstarts, Hymns, and multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter David Bromberg.

The River To River Festival, presented by American Express, is the nation’s largest free summer-long arts festival, with events held from June through September in Lower Manhattan, New York. The festival's programming includes free music, dance, film, and arts events open to the public.