David Scott Norton: Hey everybody, David Scott Norton here. This is the local music podcast. Today, I have with me Scott Moreau from New York City originally from Maine. Scott has traveled the world performing as Johnny Cash for nearly a decade. He's wrote his own show called Walking The Line based on interviews and anecdotes and portions of Johnny Cash's autobiography. He's performed in New York, Quebec City, Montreal, Phoenix, Las Vegas all around the country and Canada, I guess. And he performs regularly with other tribute artists and I've seen some of the shows, some of the clips of these shows and they're really good shows. Welcome, Scott.

Scott Moreau: Thanks. Thanks for having me, man.

David: Sure, no problem. I got onto your site because I noticed you’re from Maine. Well, it was the Johnny Cash thing first. I saw the Johnny Cash announcement and then I noticed you were from Maine and I'm like I got to talk to this guy because I

Scott: Mainers got to stick together.

David: Yeah. Yeah, I am so I'm from Maine as you know, and there's not a lot of people up here who are younger people who are into you know old country music. How did you get into Johnny Cash?

Scott: Well, it's actually a very Maine story I guess. Wel, my mother will be 75 in June. My dad's 75 and so I grew up with the music that they grew up with. I mean the first music I heard the kid was all what they played on their records and I've never let go of those records. So the first stuff I heard was you know, the Everly Brothers, Johnny Horton, you know, Frankie Avalon, The Beach Boys, lot of stuff in the mid 50s and early 60s. So that was sort of my I don't know musical upbringing and I mean I knew who cash was but I wasn't fully into his music. I knew sort of the greatest hits, but I was working at Bull Moose Music in Lewiston, and I had a co-worker who it was his turn to play some music because we used to you know, we were able to play whatever we wanted within reason while we were working and he said, “Yeah, I'm going to play this thing for you and I think you're going to like it.” And I said, “What is it?” He said, “Johnny Cash” I said, “I don't know. I don't really like country,” because I was thinking new country, you know, and he said, “No, I think I really think you're gonna like this.” I'm pretty sure it was the American III record Solitary Man. But basically I just went in with a skeptical mind, listened to the end of the record. I bought it by the time I left that day and kind of was hooked. I started going back and buying the first two American records before that. And then when the American IV came out, I bought that and then you know, it just kind of snowballed from there buying all the Sun stuffm the outtakes, you know, all the Columbia stuff, you know, bootlegs all that.

David: Where are your folks from? So you say you learned from your folks listening to their music. Are they originally from Maine?

Scott: They are yeah, we're Mainers couple Generations back. My dad grew up in Jay went to Jay High School and my mother grew up in sort of various places. She went to Livermore Falls High School, but she grew up on an apple farm actually in Canton. So yeah, they're you know, they're both kind of from you know, pretty rural areas my dad grew up working in the Jay mill. But yeah, they're both in that area.

David: My dad was from from the South from Georgia. And so that's how I got my, you know country music it was Johnny Horton, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, all that. I thought it was mainly because he was from from the South, but you run into so many people now that, you know, love the old country music like real country music here in Maine. So that’s awesome. How did you get your start playing the music around here? Did you start playing in Lewiston?

Scott: No, not really at that point. I graduated from college. I went to school out in Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan University and I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theater. And you know, I was a couple years out of college at that point. So I was mostly only getting seasonal work sort of mostly in the summer and a little bit in the winter. And once I really got into him that's when I started picking up my guitar a little bit more. My parents bought me a guitar when I was in high school, but you know, I don't want to say I didn’t think of it very seriously, but I you know, I played a lot of stuff that was popular in the 90s when I was in high school like a lot of Smashing Pumpkins a lot of Nirvana stuff like that. I just kind of figure things out. I don't know I guess the the stripped-down sound of that first American record really made me want to pick up my guitar and just try to you know play some of that stuff. I definitely did not have a voice for it at the time but I just enjoyed the music. So I just kind of kept going with it and kept going with it. And eventually I was working at a theater down in Florida doing a number of shows and they used to do cabarets on Saturday night sort of as an added bonus for for patrons of the theater. They’d you know invite them to stay if they wanted. It was free and performers from the show that they had just watched. We'd change. We put on a tie nice clothes whatever get up in front of them. And do you know probably a little something different from what they had just seen on stage and I started doing Johnny Cash songs and the producer of the theater approached me and said, “Hey, have you ever heard of the musical Ring of Fire?” And I said, “Well, yeah.” He said, “Well, we're going to do it and we you know, we kind of would like to make you the first official offer for the show,” and so I was like, “Okay great.” So I said yes, and then, you know a few months later started rehearsals for that. That was 10 years ago.

David: So Ring of Fire? Was that a Broadway show or I'm not sure what that was.

Scott: Yeah, Ring of Fire was on Broadway very very short-lived it was only on Broadway for maybe two or three weeks. Did not get very good reviews, which is unfortunate because some fantastic musicians and actors in it, and I have a buddy now we're very good friends. I didn't know him at the time but he was in the original cast. It's been reworked a bunch of times with input from various people and by the time I got to do it the show had kind of changed drastically. I think part of what made it not do well on Broadway was that it felt like a Broadway country show as opposed to Johnny Cash's music on stage. Which is, again, unfortunate but through the reworking I think they found a little more of a cohesion to it. All the dialogue was taken straight out of the autobiography. I think another thing that made it, I don't want to say unsuccessful, but there's no there's no one person that plays him. It's sort of like an every man is Johnny Cash sort of idea. Which a lot of people like, but I think most people when they think Johnny, you know Ring of Fire the Johnny Cash musical you think you're going to see Johnny Cash on stage and when you hear a girl singing some of his songs, you're like, “Wait a second. I don't understand what this is.”

David: Right, not really what I expected. You mentioned your voice. Your voice wasn't quite there yet. I think your voice is great, now. I listened to some of your stuff on Soundcloud and you know, the one thing that I notice is that it doesn't seem like you're imitating Johnny Cash. A lot of times you hear, you know people who are tribute artists and they're just imitating Johnny Cash and they overplay it. Your music, it feels like Johnny Cash doesn't sound like Johnny Cash. It feels like Johnny Cash.

Scott: Thanks for that.

David: And I like that. I'm going to try to you know for my listeners. I'm going to try to play one little clip off your SoundCloud. I’ve never done this before, so I want to see if this will work. Let me share my sound. Okay let me know if you hear this. Is that coming through? [Scott Moreau - Dark As A Dungeon plays. Listen Here]

Scott: Yep.

David: Okay, that's Scott Moreau for anybody who is listening out there and that's really awesome.

Scott: Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

David: I think I lost my sound. Okay, can you hear me?

Scott: Yep. Yep, I can hear you.

David: Okay, I when I faded that out I shut off my own headphones. But anyway, that is a really great take on that song. Like I said, it doesn't sound like you're pretending to be Johnny Cash or imitating. It sounds like you feel it and so that I really like that. How did you work on your voice to get a better sound? Because you said you weren't there originally. Did you take lessons or have a coach or anything like that?

Scott: Oh, no, nothing like that. I mean I you know, I took voice lessons in high school and for all of college and you know, I do from time to time have a vocal coach. Honestly, usually just to play through stuff for auditions and just give me some feedback, but as far as Cash stuff, no, I've never used anything like that. A lot of it was just honestly trial and error. A lot of listening. I mean that's sort of how I learned to sing when I was little. I started singing when I was probably two or three years old and a lot of it was just trying to imitate or sound like what it was that I was hearing on those records. Like I used to do things like I would put on The Everly Brothers Golden Hits for instance and I put on one side and I would try to sing all of Don's lines and then I'd flip it over and then I’d sing all of Phil’s lines. Then I put it back to the first side and I do Phil's vocals on the first side and then Don’s on the second side, and I wasn't necessarily trying to learn how to sing harmony. I just I don't know. I thought it was fun, I guess. So a lot of it is just that. Sort of listening listening to how he pronounces certain words. Srt of the timbre. Part of it is sort of like going to the gym, you know. You haven't been to the gym in two years. You're kind of weak you the first time you go. You try to do too much. You come back really sore. You don't want to go for a little while and then eventually once you start doing it everyday you build up the muscle. Sort of the same thing with singing. When I first started trying to do it there was no way I was going to hit a lot of those lower notes and then just the more and more I did it the more I was sort of able to stretch out my range. I mean, that's just kind of how the voice works in that if you want to improve your range on the high end, you know, you have to warm, up high every day and every day you'll probably get a little like a quarter tone more and yeah, it was sort of that. I mean the more warm I am the harder it is for me to sing cash. So usually when I'm doing either my shows or Million Dollar Quartet or whatever it is that I'm doing I try not to talk really at all during the day before the show just to kind of, you know, make sure I have that resonance that I want.

David: That's that that's a really good tip to you know to rest before you actually sing and think I remember I heard I don't know was it was an outtake from the Will The Circle Be Unbroken album The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band put that together and I can’t remember who said it but he's like “We're going to try to do this on the first take because you know, a man's voice loses something every time you go through.” That's so true. Like usually you got to be rested. And then the practice and the discipline to practice is a really good tip too. I get in that rut where I don't practice for a little while and I should try to go out and play and it's like, you know, you just lose it. Physically it's a muscle you got to keep in shape. I mean you sound good. Sounds great actually. The one thing I also noticed that you sound a lot older than you are. You're younger than I am and that just sounds like you have a robust voice. An experienced voice.

Scott: Yeah. I mean, you know, I try to be sort of a chameleon in that way. I don't have many of his Sun songs on on Soundcloud. I think I only have the one I Was There When It Happened one of his, you know first gospel tunes that he recorded it’s a Jimmy Davis tune, and I sound very different on that one because I'm trying to. Just because he you know as he got older he sounded so so much different. I mean most people don't recognize some of his early stuff just because it has such a different sound. Sort of the same thing with Elvis. I think so many people think of him as you know this sort of operatic singer. The type of stuff he was doing toward the end of his life like American Trilogy and stuff like that and they forget how kind of bright and tingy his voice was on stuff like I don't know Baby, Let's Play House or That's All Right, Mama any of that sort of early Sun stuff.

David: Have you gotten a chance to visit any of the Sun recording studios or any of the Johnny Cash museums or anything like that?

Scott: That would be I would say an understatement. I've been to Sun I think probably 10 times now. First time was probably 15 years ago, I think, one of my first times to Memphis. While doing the first national tour of Million Dollar Quartet, the first time we went there would have been in 2012 and we got to record a song that a buddy of ours had on tour had sort of written as a love letter to us. So the entire cast went in after hours and recorded there and then I had such an amazing time and we went back by popular demand the next year on tour. So I booked my own session so I could record a five-song EP there of again five songs that cash recorded at Sun. So went in after hours and the guy that was the engineer there at the time Matt Ross-Spang did my record did an amazing job. He did it basically the way Sam Phillips did originally straight to tape. I mean he had to digitize it so we could put it on iTunes and everything but the way he recorded he manufactured the tape delay with two tape reels is pretty amazing. He's gone on to do some unbelievable stuff. He's won a couple of Grammys for - he won a Grammy for a Jason Isbell record. I think it was last year or the year before but yeah, he's an unbelievable engineer.

David: Awesome. Was the Reverb - is it a Reverb room or was it all the Reverb and stuff done by machine?

Scott: Yeah. It's essentially done by machine. I mean Sam did a lot of different things. He would do something like - well, If you’ve ever seen Walk the Line, they probably have the best depiction of the actual Studio even though it's not the real Studio. They filmed on a sound stage but if you were to walk in the front door you walk straight into what used to be Marion's office. Then there's another door that walks into the studio. And if you keep going straight and open a door, you're in Sam's Booth. Well, Sam would close the door to his Booth but he'd often leave the door open to the office and put a mic back there. So not only were you singing to into a mic but then there was a mic sort of picking up the ambient Echo out of the room, but mainly the tape Echo comes from him recording on two reels simultaneously except delaying the start of one of them just barely. I mean, that's a very Elementary way of me explaining it. I don't have the technical expertise to really tell you what he did, but that's basically what he did through trial and error. Pretty amazing stuff considering the fact that for him. It was just like pressing a couple of buttons and trial and error and all of Nashville after that for probably 20 years is trying to figure out how to recreate that sound and couldn’t.

David: Yeah. That's awesome. I think when you get back to Maine, there is a studio down in Portland. I’m not sure if you're aware of Acadia Recording Company.

Scott: I've heard of it. Yeah.

David: They have the old equipment from - I think it may be out of Dick Curliss’ Studio. They can record to that to that equipment. They got it all back up and running. I know they got it from a guy who passed away and he said that in his will that he needed it to go to some place that was going to keep it all intact together and they got it and they put it in a special room and they can actually record onto it and it's such a great sound. How hard was it to actually get in there and book time with them? Are they pretty flexible?

Scott: It's honestly not that hard. You just have to be in there late at night because you know, they're still open for tours. It's a museum so they're open for tours from I think 9am into the evening. So I mean we went, did a show of Million Dollar Quartet at the Orpheum and Memphis, and then went back to the hotel, put all our gear in some cabs, drove to Sun, and we recorded from - I think we set up at probably midnight or 11 and record until maybe 3:30 4:00 in the morning and that's great. That's basically the bag. We did it exactly the way they did. I mean I'm talking standing in the exact places that they did. You can see because the divots are in the floor from where it's like Scotty Moore's base was or Marshall grants bass pin was so we stood there and just you know, we did take my take so if I messed up something on Hey, Porter he'd wait until the end and then we go back and do it or sometimes there was a big mess up, so we'd stop in the middle, but I don't think we did more than maybe 4 or 5. I think the most we did was five takes on one song.

David: Nice. Very cool. What is the name of that album?

Scott: It's called “Home of the Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash at Sun Studio” and it’s by Scott Moreau and the Died Drunk Boys which is a story in and of itself.

David: That sounds like a good story.

Scott: Well, once I had booked the time, you know, once we found out we were going to Memphis again, I was like, all right, I got to jump on this I gotta find the right time. I got to get this studio time. So I'd look at probably six months in advance. And you know, I used my buddies on tour. Not only because they were there and it was easy but because they're great pickers. We rehearsed when we could but it was, you know, pretty busy touring schedule. And so we’d sit around and play and then we’d generally go to a bar get a few drinks afterwards and I was like, you know, I don't want it to just be me. I want to acknowledge you guys. I want to have like a Bill Haley and the Comets name for this album. So we were trying to figure out a name that had some sort of obscure Johnny Cash reference and kept talking about it and kept talking about it and kept throwing things out there and it wasn't working. And then one night one of my buddies was like, oh I got one from Ira Hayes and I was like, what is it? He said he died drunk early one morning alone in the land he fought to save and I was like, that's it Scott Moreau and The Died Drunk Boys.

David: That's a great name. I like it. I was wondering if the died was about death or about being tie-dyed so that that explains it. Let's see, here's a thing I want to read to my listeners. So you got written about in the Boston Globe. I guess that maybe they were reviewing your show or something and it says, “Moreau channels the Man in Black and then some. He unleashes a voice that possesses not just Cash’s deep grumbling sepulchral Timbre, but also an astonishing power. This guy seems like he could knock a brick wall down just by singing at it.” In the Boston Globe. Were the reviewing you or your Million Dollar Quartet or what was that?

Scott: Yeah. They were they were reviewing me in Million Dollar Quartet. Yeah, let's see, we were there in the fall of 2013 and I remember because that was the last year the Red Sox won the World Series before 2018 because we were there in town for three weeks. It was awesome, and we believe the night we closed was the night that the Red Sox clinched to go to the World Series. Yeah, if you can't tell I'm a Red Sox fan too.

David: Yeah, I was going to ask you. So yeah, you live in New York now, but the question is are you a Red Sox fan?

Scott: Oh, I am. Okay. I'll tell you what. I frequently see games at Yankee Stadium. In fact, I see as many Red Sox - Yankees games there as I can. I definitely get my share of flak for wearing Red Sox gear. But you know, it's all in the love of the rivalry, I guess.

David: You gotta wear it. A true Mainer, doesn't matter where they're at, they’re a Red Sox fan, their a patriots fan. Doesn't matter how long you've been gone. How long have you been gone out of Maine?

Scott: I mean, you know off and on I guess. I mean I graduated college in 2001, but I've been traveling around and on tour for so long. I mean, I only really been kind of plunked down living living in New York for about four years. Before that I'd come here for a couple months at a time to audition for shows, but for the most part I you know, I'd only have maybe two months off a year. So I kind of just go home spend time with my folks for a while and then maybe travel a little bit for fun then go out to the next contract.

David: So I see on your site the different theaters that you play at. Like The Ogunquit Playhouse, the Springer Opera House. Some pretty nice little local places. Explain how you get hooked up with these places and you know, how do you get to your next show. Do you have an agent or is it word of mouth?

Scott: No, I do have an agent. Sort of depends on what you're talking about. I mean for most shows most musicals I do I gotta sort of pound the pavement like everybody else. I'm a member of The Actors Equity which is the the professional union for stage actors. And so with that I go into only union auditions which provide me with a higher pay scale, 401K pension, health, all of that, and I go in with a bunch of different people. I walk into a room I sing a little bit maybe read a little bit and hope to get a call back. A lot of that comes through my agent, you know, I'm sort of on a profile for only casting directors and they either see something on my resume that they like or I fit, you know, the height and weight and hair color requirements of what they're looking for for a role. Call my agent send me in. As far as Million Dollar Quartet goes, now I've done so many productions of it that I don't really audition for it anymore. At this point if someone's interested they can Google my name and Johnny Cash and nine times out of ten the first thing you are going to see is Million Dollar Quartet. So generally I just kind of either get a call or an email that says we're really interested in you doing a show here and I sort of either decide to do it because it's at a new place and a reputable theater that I’d really like to work for or sometimes we pass. Just kind of depends.

David: You told how you got into theater in Florida, right? Doing the after hours…

Scott: Oh, no that was more how I got into playing and singing Cash. Getting into theater, again, my parents took me to musicals and plays when I was younger and I, you know, I always enjoyed music. I was in band and chorus from a young age, but I don't know I wasn't really - I was interested in theater in that if I was sitting in the audience watching as a kid, then I liked it, but I didn't think of it as any sort of career until I got to high school and everyone I knew that was in chorus was doing a musical at some community theater. So a friend asked me if I wanted to do one and I said sure. So I did my first show when I was 15 at Cumpston Hall in Monmouth as part of the Monmouth Community Players. I did Bye-Bye Birdie when I was 15 and then I just sort of got really interested in it. I mean most of the first musicals I saw were in Brunswick and Maine State music theater growing up. That was my Broadway and I got my first professional job there while I was still in college. I was there for one show in the summer of 1999. So yeah, that's where I got my start.

David: Maine State Music Theater. Are you going to be back there? So you're going to be in Brunswick in June?

Scott: I am, yeah. Yeah, I was there for Million Dollar Quartet this past summer and it went extremely well. It was the first show of the season and in that time slot it was the biggest seller they've ever had in 60 years. And I'm friends with the artistic director. We've been in touch for quite a while and he just said, “Hey, I know you have a tribute show. We do a concert series. Judging by the response of you on the stage and being local a local favorite sort of,” because I grew up there, I mean, he just said, “you know, I really think we could sell the show and would you be interested?” I said, “absolutely.” So I sort of - I basically put everything on hold. I said yes to him and you know anything during June that I would have done for another show. I basically said, “Nope. Sorry, I'm going to Maine to do to do two shows on a Monday for for these great people because they've done so much for me.” So that's yeah, it's going to be really nice to be able to do my full show there for, you know, my folks and my brother and my dentist will probably be there.

David: What is the title of your show there?

Scott: That one's Walking The Line. That one’s sort of the first one I compiled. It’s got a full band. It’s like 25 songs. It’s really more like what he used to do in concert. I mean, I talk a bit about how he wrote certain songs or why he wrote certain songs and I give a little bit of biographical background. I mean, as Cash, not as myself. I never do a Johnny Cash show as Scott. I’m always speaking as him, in his words. But yeah, that one’s really more a concert with bits of information thrown in. Mostly banter, you know.

David: Is that solo, or do you have a band with you on that one?

Scott: Yeah, that's the one with the full band. I got keys, upright, electric guitar. What did I just miss? Drums? Yep. There we go.

David: So when you're doing Walking the Line and as I see you're doing also in Arizona a couple times coming up and Michigan. Does your band travel with you? Is it the same band or do you do you have different bands in different areas of the country?

Scott: At this point I basically have different bands. The guys that are coming in Maine with me are sort of handpicked by me. They're guys that I’ve either worked with or have seen them play similar stuff and was like, okay I want these guys coming and doing the show in Maine with me because it means you know means a lot to me. The guys out in Arizona, you know, they’ve come to be my band. But the first time I did the show with them out there, I'd never met. I think I met one of the guys and the other guys I’d never met. We did a two hour rehearsal and then got thrust right into a show. The producer I work without there, amazing guy, J.R. McAlexander, he was a music director for a lot of the shows that I was doing in sort of the late 2000s for a couple of theaters I worked for. And he sort of semi-retired and decided to start his own production company and he's basically the reason I started doing trivia work because he said, “Hey, listen, there's a market for this. I've got a market for this in Arizona. Why don't you see what you can come up with and write a show?” So I did. Then he flew me out there, paid me a substantial amount of money, and that's why I keep going back out there. I mean other than the fact that the weather is amazing and he generally brings me out in the winter. So I'm there and it's 80 degrees, you know, who can say no to that? But yeah, I mean I get to do this music for you know, generally, it's a lot of retirement communities and RV resorts. People with, you know, a good amount of money that want good entertainment and you know, we're talking retired military people that most everyone that I see in those shows come up to me tell me when they saw Johnny Cash, if they saw Johnny Cash, what Johnny Cash meant to them, and that's I mean that's a lot of why I do it because his music and his story and his life not only are inspirational to people but they bring back so many fond memories of their youth. I mean that's why I do theater too. I mean just transporting people to another place and being able to sort of I don't know make them forget about their troubles for a while and be entertained. That's why I do it. Hopefully that’s why everyone does it.

David: It's why I love to put the old country music, you know in places like that and you know, like you said retirement homes in places where there's an older crowd and people there their eyes just light up because they haven't heard this music. Especially if it hasn’t been on the radio for sure lately, and people just have such a such a great connection, you know to Johnny Cash to Hank Williams and all those greats. So your other show is called Late And Alone, right?

Scott: Yeah, that's right.

David: And that's going to be at Feinstein’s in New York City, which is a nice little local local joint there. What's the difference between Walking the Line show and Late And Alone?

Scott: Well it all came about because I thought about wanting to tell a little bit more of his story. I think a lot of people that are sort of casual fans of his music watch something like Walk The Line or own a Greatest Hits CD and they think, “Okay. Well, that's the full story. That's you know, that's everything there is to know about Cash,” and I'll tell you what after 10 years reading, you know, 50 60 books, listening to every bit of music he's ever recorded, the interviews, the documentaries, all that stuff. I mean, I will never find the end of him. There's no way I can ever know all there is to know or absorb all there is to absorb, but I want to tell his story in a little bit more of an authentic way. So Late And Alone came about because he, in the in the 80s, sort of when he was struggling on Columbia and they weren't selling a whole lot of his records and his you know, songwriting was dipping a little bit. He went into his cabin recording studio across from his house in Hendersonville, Tennessee outside Nashville, and he just started recording songs just by himself with a guitar. Songs he'd heard growing up, you know played in the field, songs by friends of his I mean some of the songs he recorded are, you know, almost a hundred and fifty years old and he just sits there and just leaves the mic open and just plays and then talks about the first time he heard that song or what the song means to him for the first song he sang in public and it's pretty amazing. The tapes were lost for a long time. And then after he passed they finally sort of put them out but originally he recorded all of it because he wanted to record this album called Late And Alone and he scrapped it. Then eventually in 1994 when he hooked up with Rick Rubin and Rick basically said sit in my living room and play me everything you want to play and the album ended up being exactly that just him with his guitar. He said, you know, this is something I wanted to do a long time ago and I was going to call it Late And Alone. So that's you know, that's where it came from. So the the talking and whatnot I do - a lot of it is taken from that actual recording and just talks about you know, his addiction, his trouble with his first wife, his marriage to June, his relationships with people like Kris Kristofferson and Shel Silverstein, Bob Dylan, Peter LaFarge, where he was when he wrote this song. Why did he write this song what this song means to him? So it's a lot more personal. That's I mean that was what I wanted to do and just the challenge is me standing on stage by myself with my guitar. I mean, I've got no handlebars. Just me. Just standing there sort of naked and you know, if I mess up well, I got a sort of own it. I just wanted that challenge of being able to do that and just again showing a side that I don't think people think about or see very often. They think about the sort of the the boom chicka boom sound that they don't maybe sometimes delve as far as they should into his songwriting.

David: So that’s Late And Alone you're doing at Feinstein's. April 2nd. And then you do it again in Michigan and you’re doing it a few times. So you're doing in Michigan and then also in Arizona too, right?

Scott: Yeah I just got contacted about it in Arizona a few days ago and I'm hoping looks like I might have another booking up in Upstate New York, which will be nice. Basically I announced that I was doing it at the Feinstein’s/54 Below and a bunch of people I've worked for before called me up and said hey, do you want to do it for us? Yeah. Well, I just did I just went and did it at Winthrop High School where I graduated in Maine. I did a benefit for the theater kids there. They were trying to raise money to go to a one-act play festival which they came in second on which is awesome. So I went and did it. I basically, you know sort of workshopped it and did it in front of an audience about 250 people for first time there. But I got that because, you know, the theater director who I knew called and said hey come to a benefit and like try out your show and I said, yes, absolutely. Then not long after that an old friend of mine who is an artistic director at this theater out in Michigan that I've also done Million Dollar Quartet at he called and said basically the same thing, you know, we think your show would be a great fit for us. We need something during that time period it's just you and a guitar. So for us it's easy, and we love to have you back.

David: I think it would be a great fit for the Camden Opera House. So if anybody's listening from the Camden Opera House here in Maine, call this guy up and get him up here so I can see this show. Sounds great.

Scott: Well, I love Camden. So, hey, any excuse to be up there.

David: Well you can come up any time and visit us. Were the tapes that were released that you got a lot of this from released under the title Late And Alone also? I’ve never heard of these.

Scott: Originally, it was called Personal File and now they’ve sort of repackaged it and I think they call it Bootleg 1 because a number of years after he passed they sort of compiled a bunch of stuff, a lot of which had never been heard before. They put out this thing called Bootleg Vol. 2 which is a lot of live stuff from the early days in Memphis. There’s a really cool portion on there that he and the Tennessee Two were allowed to do a few minutes on radio like 10 minutes on radio as long as every time they’d do a song they did a plug for the place that Cash was working at the time, Home Equipment Company. There’s like a 10-minute segment of them playing live on the radio. It’s quite something. But yeah, he wanted to call it Late And Alone but when they released it they called it Personal File. It’s a double disc. It’s close to 40 songs. It’s exceptional, I think. It’s quickly become one of my favorite albums of his just because of all the talking. He talks about his earliest influences, the first time he sang in public, the first gospel song he remembers hearing, just how he felt when he was coming of age and his voice changed. It really is something.

David: Cool, it sounds great. I'm going to check it out now. You talked about the Million Dollar Quartet. And what was the first show you did?

Scott: Oh, Ring of Fire, yep.

David: Ring of Fire and how it was very mixed up, different people singing, and it was very Broadwayish, I guess. Whenever I heard on Broadway or New York City singing country music, you know, a lot of people just roll their eyes, and I'd like, oh, I don't want to hear this and I was really surprised with both the clips I saw from from the Million Dollar Quartet in your clips that it's authentic. It's Broadway but it's not showy, you know, it's just not that Broadway style, I guess. I don’t know what the right word to put on that without offending anybody.

Scott: No, I know I know what you mean. I think well that has to do with a few things. I mean the book like the script for the show was co-written by a couple people but one of them Colin Escott, I mean he is sort of the authority on Sun Records. I mean he has an amazing book called Good Rockin’ Tonight and he wrote sort of the definitive Hank Williams biography which was turned into a movie a couple years ago. The movie’s called I Saw the Light but his biography on Hank Williams is unbelievable. So good, but you know, he loves this music and he loves Sun Records so much that he made the script as authentic as possible. But the music is the way it is not only because the adherence to the way the music was on the original records is I mean, that's Paramount. But the music director music supervisor that we had Chuck Need he, other than being probably one of the finest Western swing / hillbilly country western artists I've ever known, he knows more about playing that music and how to keep it authentic. I mean to me he is the T-bone Burnett of theater. He's unbelievable. He has a he was in BR5-49 for years. Unbelievable musician.

David: You said the the Hank Williams documentary or the movie I Saw the Light and how did how did you like that with was it Tom Hiddleston?

Scott: I will say honestly I haven't seen the movie yet. Yeah. Tom Hiddleston. Yeah. He's good. I basically know him as Loki in the Thor movies but yeah, yeah, I haven't bitten the bullet and watched the movie.

David: Yeah, I was excited about it. I wasn't that impressed. I didn't really care for it that much. I know he sang all the songs. They would be better off to get to know somebody like with your talent to sing the songs for him.

Scott: Well thanks. Well, hopefully Sony BMG or Legacy recordings or whoever is listening out there next time they decide to do Walk The Line 2.

David: Absolutely, yeah. Have you seen that new documentary called The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash? I think it walks through one of the prison concerts.

Scott: Well, I know that it's at South by Southwest or was just at South by Southwest. Apparently it's waiting to find distribution which I just find silly. I mean maybe I just assumed everyone is a crazy Cash fan and is going to buy it as soon as it comes out like me but yeah, they're waiting for somebody to reach out to distribute it and I’m waiting for them because I desperately need to see it as soon as it hits the theaters or goes the you know one would think maybe it'll just go straight to Netflix and things like everything's doing that these days but yeah, I can't wait. I mean I know John Carter specifically said “if you want to know what my father was really like watch this movie” A guy I've been recently been in touch with Mark Stielper who is the official Johnny Cash historian. He's unbelievably going to be at my show at 54 Below. No pressure. He you know at this point he basically if there is a documentary made or a book written. He's the first phone call and I know that he contributed a lot to the documentary as did another guy that I've been friends with Jonathan Hollis. His father Saul Hollis was Johnny's manager for well, basically the biggest part of his career. He had made another amazing documentary called My Father And The Man in Black, but he has a massive amount of memorabilia and stuff that his father collected over the years and I know they used a lot of the stock photographs and stuff that he has in the documentary. So yeah, I really want to see it.

David: Me too. I sent them a message last week. Where is this going to be? Because they had on the South by Southwest. They had the contacts of the publicist and crickets. There's nothing so I can't believe that's yeah, that's not already on the on the way to be distributed. Like I can't wait. Alright, anything else you want to mention? What else you got going on?

Scott: Not really. What else do I have going on? Well, I’ll be doing another production of Million Dollar Quartet in April and May at the Springer Opera House. I've worked there a number of times over the last 15 years and they brought the show down there last year and put it in their smaller theatre and the response was such that they had to bring it back this year because people kind of freaked out about it and couldn't get tickets fast enough. So I'll be back down there.

David: Where's the Springer Opera House?

Scott: It's in Columbus, Georgia. It's about an hour and 45 minutes south of Atlanta. It's right on the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama border. It's a special town. I love it there. I mean you want to feel like you're in the Old South that's that's where it is. Great town. A lot of culture. The opera house was built in 1871, you know, it's changed very little since then. I mean in a good way it's been restored beautifully, but still has the amazing acoustics and just old southern charm. It's gorgeous. But yes, I'm doing that. I got a few other opportunities coming up in the fall and then not signed on yet, technically but more Johnny Cash opportunities and in the end of 2019 and 2020. The one thing I did want to say because you asked me about if I’ve ever been to any of the Museum's and and stuff. I basically went on and on about Sun Records. But yeah, I I used to do a pilgrimage every year before tour to Nashville. I'd go to where Johnny's house was before it burned down and I'd go and pay my respects to Johnny and June and I'd go to kind of some other hot spots around Nashville and Memphis if I had time and then eventually the Cash Museum got built up there and I've been listening to the Johnny Cash Radio podcast for a number of years and started writing in again, probably ten years ago. And so I befriended Bill Miller who's the owner of the museum and he’s been very gracious and kind he's taught me a lot. He's let me hold items of Johnny's that were not yet on public display. He's introduced me to a lot of people I mean through him because of him. I met Margie Perkins who is Luther Perkins Widow and we've become friends. I met Joanne Cash Yates who's Johnny's little sister and a Tommy Cash and Johnny's daughter Cindy. I mean, I can't think Bill and Shannon Miller out there at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville enough.

David: Cool. I haven't been there yet either but I'm gonna. Another place on my list to get to.

Scott: Yes, I mean again, I'm personally because I you know, I kind of like Johnny Cash I guess.

David: Did you ever get to see him before he died?

Scott: I did not. Talk about one of life’s regrets. No, I mean I really I just I found them too late. I really did. Because he stopped I mean he really stopped touring in earnest in 1997. I was a senior in high school and wasn't into him yet. Unfortunately, so yeah, I mean, I really just found him too late by the time he kind of stopped definitely stopped touring and stopped performing in public really.

David: How about Kris Kristofferson? Ever run into him or meet him?

Scott: No, no, I have never met him. I would love to though. I did meet quite a few, you know, that tour was pretty amazing. We had people coming out to see us all the time. I met WS Luke Holland who was Cash’s drummer for 40 years. He was on the original recordings of Blue Suede Shoes, Match Box, all those students for because he was in Carl Perkins’ original band. He came out and played with us on the road all the time. We had all kinds of conversations. He's unbelievable. The Godfather the drums. I met Gordon Lightfoot in Minnesota when we were there. I met Dion in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That was unbelievable. I could not. I mean, I think Runaround Sue was one of the first records that I ever heard his kid, and now I'm standing here talking to Deon.

David: That's the same with me is like listening to my mom's 45 records, you know from the from the 50s. That's what I grew up on. All those people. It would be awesome to meet them.

Scott: Yeah. I mean some people, you know again some of these people just sort of blew me away. I haven't gotten to meet Jerry Lee Lewis. I know a lot of my friends that have done Million Dollar Quartet have met him but I haven't gotten to meet him yet.

David: Who were the other three in the Million Dollar Quartet?

Scott: It’s Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, and Cash.

David: Okay

Scott: Yeah, because it's all I mean, it's all based on. I mean it is a true story. It was this I mean it was a real event that happened. It was December 4th 1956 is a Carl Perkins recording session. Jerry Lee Lewis is a session piano player. He's only 19 years old, you know, he was not The Killer. Well, he was already I guess The Killer but not known as The Killer yet. He plays you know, he plays on the original record of Matchbox and Elvis stopped by because he was in town for Christmas and cash stopped by and they just started playing Gospel tunes. And that's basically how it came about. I mean the original session you can you know, you can buy it on iTunes it's for super fans because it's you know, like 30 second clips of songs and they, you know, forget how a song goes or forget some lyrics and then they just start talking and go to the next song but the show the musical is sort of - it takes what actually happened and then kind of creates the history of you know, sort of how they got to Sun, how they auditioned to get in with Sam, then sort of some of the aftermath of all of that and you know, the infighting that happens when you’ve got a guy like Jerry Lee Lewis trying to lead Carl Perkins’ band, you know? Stuff like that.

David: Very cool. Awesome. Well, we are running up on our time here. It's been really great. Great talking to you. The one thing I want to say about the story - The Johnny Cash and the Kris Kristofferson story. Have you heard that?

Scott: Well, yeah, it's actually I talk about it in pretty much all of my tribute shows I will say with cash nothing's ever true or untrue. Any book you read, anybody you talk to, you're going to get probably 15 different stories. But yes, he met Kris when Kris was a janitor at Columbia Records and he was desperately trying to get his songs bought and there was a kind of a hard rule at Columbia at the time that you could not hand artists tapes, especially not Johnny Cash. And Kris had been among other things a Rhodes scholar with a degree from Oxford and he had been a captain in the Army and a helicopter pilot. So he hijacked a helicopter, although supposedly he did not hijack it he rented it, and he flew it to Cash’s house in Hendersonville and landed it on his front lawn and as Cash told it he walked out of the plane with a tape in one hand and a beer in the other and handed him the tape to Sunday Morning Coming Down. Now if you listen to what Kris Kristofferson says one, he did not have a beer and two Johnny was not home at the time when he landed with the tape. So it depends on which is what you want to believe. I like Cash’s version. It makes a better story. So that's what I tell the gospel according to Cash.

David: Sure. Yeah awesome that sounds great. So yeah, it's been great talking to you.This is Scott Moreau, Johnny Cash tribute artist. I guess the three major shows that you’ve got going on are The Million Dollar Quartet that you’ve been in all around the world or the country?

Scott: The World. Yeah, we played in Canada and went to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.

David: And then you have your show Walking the Line with your band and you have now Late And Alone and that Late And Alone you’re going to be at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City on April 2nd, correct?

Scott: That’s right.

David: Hey, I saw a note on your Facebook that said, “Big news. A very special guest will be at Late And Alone.” Can you say anything about that or is that still a secret?

Scott: Oh, I sort of did earlier. It's the official Cash Family historian Mark Stielper. He's the one that's going to be there. Yeah. I mean I leave it ambiguous on my Facebook because I want people to buy tickets and find out who it is. So yeah, I know I'm totally fine saying who it is.

David: I see you’ve got a short URL for this https://tinyurl.com/lateandalone. I guess that’ll redirect you to Feinstein's and get your tickets there. And that is also a great, you know, this is we've talked a lot about long Johnny Cash. This is the Local Music Podcast. And that's one of the places that I consider. It's a local place in New York City. It's you know, it's just you want to hear people who live there and the local artists a lot of times you can find them right there at Feinstein's/54 Below and you have also on your website ScottMoreau.com. You can get links to all of your upcoming shows and it sounds like they're getting updated, you know, frequently you get your adding new shows, but you'll be in North Carolina, Michigan and Arizona and here in Maine over the next, you know, couple months and I'm gonna try to get down there in June to see you in Brunswick.

Scott: Yeah, please do, man. Make sure if you come, stay after and say hello, please.

David: Absolutely. That’s at the Pebble Creek Renaissance Theater in Brunswick or is it at the Maine State

Scott: It’s at Maine State Music Theater on the campus of Bowdoin College.

David: Maine State Music Theater in Brunswick, okay. I think I’m seeing Willie Nelson, the whole roadshow, whatever his tour is now I’m seeing that in Bangor that Friday. The Friday before. Then I’m going to try to pop down to Brunswick and see you. That’d be great. And that’s on a Monday, I think, if I saw that right.

Scott: Yep, there are two shows. I think they’re at 2 and 7:30 that day.

David: Awesome, man. Like I said, Scott is from Maine so he’s an old Maine boy, still likes the Red Sox and the Patriots too right?

Scott: Oh, absolutely.

David: Good. Hopefully we get a good season coming up here.

Scott: Yeah. If we can get the Bruins the cup, get the Celtics the gold ball, then get the Red Sox another World Series Ring then my year will be fantastic.

David: Thanks again for chatting. It’s been really great having you and we’ll talk to you soon.

Scott: All right, man. Thank you very much.

David: Thanks a lot.

Scott: Thank you.