Concert review: Cash Bash at Radio Radio, Feb. 28 

If there was any doubt as to Mandy Marie & The Cool Hand Lukes' star power, this year's edition of Mandy's Cash Bash showed us otherwise. Radio Radio was jammed wall to wall and butt to crotch as Mandy and her boys rocked out a furious set that included a awesome version of the latter-day Cash classic "The Man Comes Around."

The Cool Hand Lukes proved themselves to be just about the best band in the city right now. Mo Foster and Scott Jones are as formidable a rhythm section ever in the history of everything. and Emerald Eric Grimmett has adapted his guitar style remarkably well to the honky tonkin' style, adding meat to potatoes and giving Mandy's Fender something to pick a fight with.

Delegations of fans from Nashville, St. Louis, Detroit and other parts made the trip and provided sure validation of Mandy's recent pick as Indianapolis Monthly's "Entertainer of the Year."

Ed Wank, the HANK FM morning dude, surprised during his set with Mandy Marie, when, after a rollicking version of "Jackson," he pulled out a completely unexpected and totally cool country version of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated."

On a related note, the day before Cash Bash, I received a copy of American VI: Ain't No Grave, the final installment of Johnny Cash's American Recordings series. It's the probably the most moving, elegiac album in the series. despite the inclusion of a Sheryl Crow song, the album clearly offers up a portrait of Cash's final days. Cash's last original composition, "I Corinthians: 15:55" is a touching hymn that will stay with you for days, while other tunes like "Cool Water," "I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound" and especially "I Don't Hurt Anymore," an old Eddy Arnold hit from the fifties, showcase Cash's frail voice still carrying all the monumental gravity that it always did.

Required listening for country fans, goths, rockers, the death-obsessed and heck just about anybody with a pulse.

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