If 47-year-old Media resident David Stone looks a whole lot like the late, great Johnny Cash, it’s no accident. After decades in the pharmaceutical industry, an unpleasant (aren’t they all?) divorce and a struggle with the bottle, Stone threw his life a major curveball in 2005 when he got sober and became a full-fledged, full-time Johnny Cash impersonator. (He prefers “tribute artist.”) “I was doing open-mike nights, and people said I really sounded like him. Now it’s my living,” explains Stone, who is quick to point out how he differs from those cheesy Elvis guys: “They have exaggerated moves, exaggerated accents. I offer authenticity, dignity and history.” Speaking of history, on February 24th of this year, Stone repeated it when he performed as Johnny Cash at San Quentin, 40 years to the day after his idol, the real Man In Black, did so; it was an experience that Stone likens to “walking on the moon.” A live CD of the San Quentin concert is available this month at Maninblackshow.com, with performances at the Media Theatre on 9/18-19.
Pulse: Pursuits: Local Talent: David Stone as Johnny Cash
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, September 2009