Teenager plays Johnny Cash

Published 4:00 pm Saturday, July 31, 2010

When Sean Benz was growing up he desperately wanted a guitar, and so he got one.

But, it wasn’t until several years later that he would actually pick up the instrument and start playing it — to the tunes of Johnny Cash.

“Like all boys, when I was growing up I wanted a guitar,” the now 17-year-old Benz said. “But I just put it in a corner and never really looked at it… until I wanted to play Cash.”

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Benz, a musician from Windom, Minn., will perform his Young Johnny Cash tribute show at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Paramount Theatre.

The young musician has played shows across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota — singing everything Johnny Cash, as well as some Elvis, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Buck Owens — for the past several years.

Sean Benz will be performing a Johnny Cash tribute show at the Paramount Theatre, Saturday, Aug. 7.

Benz first picked up that guitar after watching “Walk the Line,” the 2005 biographical drama based on the life of Cash.

“I picked up the guitar, tuned it and started playing along (with the movie),” Benz said.

About a week later, Benz entered his first talent show and won second place. Since then, he’s been hooked.

“I was raised on the 50s and 60s (music),” Benz said. “It just kind of stuck with me… You can never really beat the classics.”

Benz, who will head into his senior year of high school this fall, does most of his touring in the summer months.

He will perform at the Old Time Country Music & Bluegrass Festival in LeMars, Iowa, later this summer, where he will open a show honoring Johnny Cash, he said. Also this summer, he’ll appear on the Ted Mack Amateur Variety Show.

After finishing high school, Benz said he plans to attend South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., to prepare for a career in music by studying music and drama.

Tickets for the Young Johnny Cash show are $12 in advance and $14 at the door. For more information, call the Paramount Theatre at 434-0934.