(MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA) – Johnny Cash’s unforgettable voice, characterized by its booming timbre and raw power, remains an enduring presence in the collective consciousness. Jay Ernest, the talented vocalist behind Church of Cash, a tribute show band dedicated to Johnny Cash, is instrumental in preserving that legacy. With his resonant and commanding vocals, Ernest ensures that the revered Man in Black’s spirit lives on.
Church of Cash has released their fourth album, titled “Flowers for June,” on October 22, 2022. While the record explores familiar elements of Cash’s discography, it delves into lesser-known gems. Ernest and his band members cover a range of songs, including “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky,” “One Piece at a Time,” “One on the Right Is on the Left,” “Ballad of a Teenage Queen,” and “Thing Called Love,” among others.
“Flowers for June” was recorded at Square Studio in Minnetrista, Minnesota, and produced by BB Productions (Jay Ernest, Jonathon TeBeest) with mixing and engineering by TeBeest. The album’s sound is crafted by a talented lineup, including Jay Ernest (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Jonathon TeBeest (drums, percussion, background vocals), “Jumpin’” Jack Mansk (electric, baritone and acoustic guitars, background vocals), Tony Wirth (bass, upright bass, background vocals), Alexandra Green (vocals), Kale Olson Reed (violin), and sisters Kendra and Kansas Jenson (vocals).
Music has been a constant presence throughout Ernest’s life. “I have been singing since I was very young,” he shares. “I hit puberty about a year ahead of my classmates, and when we would sing in the choir, the choir director immediately knew it was me. As a farm boy in rural Minnesota, I baled hay and did farm chores to save money for my first guitar at the age of 13. I loved the sounds of a choir and the deep bass voice of Johnny Cash. I also had a fondness for Van Halen and played the guitar as much as possible. It didn’t take long for me to realize that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Cash, choirs, and rock ‘n’ roll – Ernest embodies the true artistic spirit of the man he admires every time he takes the stage. This is why Church of Cash goes beyond being a mere cover band; it represents a career driven by passion rather than the pursuit of easy money.
Originally formed in Honolulu, Hawaii in 2009, the band later relocated to Minneapolis. In 2015, Church of Cash released their self-titled debut album. Since then, touring has become an integral part of their journey, with thousands of shows performed across the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, and more.
Where excellence resides, accolades follow. In 2019, Church of Cash received the “Best Tribute Act 2019” award from the Midwest Country Music Organization. In 2021, Jay Ernest and Church of Cash were honored with induction into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. Never one to rest on his laurels, Ernest, with the assistance of his friend Tom Pickard, wrote a Cash-focused musical titled “Folsom Prison Experience.” The project is touring nationally.
With the release of Flowers for June and the national tours of Folsom Prison Experience, Ernest and Church of Cash are poised to cement their growing reputation as
the gold standard Cash tribute show band. Ernest and his band members are living,
breathing embodiments of the enduring force that is Johnny Cash’s artistry.
“I want to be known as the best Johnny Cash tribute show in the world,” says Ernest.
“We have credibility, and we have four studio albums as Church of Cash. I also want
to have a concert in Nashville honoring the Cash family by playing his music for them
and their friends. It is my wish to take Folsom Prison Experience to stages everywhere
and prove that I can tour and make records, but also conceive a story and bring that
story to life in musical theatre.”