Press for “Floyd Red Crow Westerman – A Tribute To Johnny Cash” (CD/Mp3)
|Sota Iya Ye Yapi||Native Peoples||CBS Radio|
|The Music Connection|
Sota Iya Ye Yapi – 11/22/2006, Interview with Floyd Red Crow Westerman
In a recent telephone interview with Floyd Red Crow Westerman I had a chance to discuss a few issues that were important to him. Floyd Red Crow Westerman belongs to the Heipa-Veblen District and grew up in Veblen and Sisseton, South Dakota. He is currently residing in Los Angeles, California and he said that the best part about living in L.A. was the weather. He met Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and other performers at a benefit with Dennis Banks for DQ University. Johnny Cash was part Cherokee and supported Indian issues and the Indian Movement. The reason Floyd said he did a tribute to Johnny Cash is because he had met him and was part Native America. Floyd Westerman has been singing professionally since the 60s and singing Johnny Cash’s music since then. The other reason he chose to do the tribute album was because of the movie about Johnny Cash’s life ‘Walk The Line’ starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. Floyd Westerman will be back in South Dakota for the 2007 Fourth of July pow-wow. He will be camping out in Enemy Swim. He was in Enemy Swim last spring performing at the Senior Elderly lunch program.
When asked if he had a message for the young people living on the Reservation on how to accomplish their goals he replied ‘Go to school for as long as you can.’ He stressed the importance of the Internet and computers as a way for young people on Reservations to stay connected and in touch. He said ‘The computer has bought the world to the Reservation.’
When asked about his greatest accomplishment he stated he stated that" although he has done movies it was his album which came out in the 70s ‘Custer Dies For Your Sins’ that he considers his best work. Vine Deloria Jr. was the author of the book by the same name and Mr. Westerman told me on the day we spoke Nov. 13. 2007 that was the day of the one-year anniversary of Vine Deloria’s death. He said that he was a close friend and he thought of him as a brother. Floyd has also began work as a sculptor and his work has appeared in museums and art galleries in New Mexico, and Arizona. Floyd Red Crow Westerman, ‘A Tribute To Johnny Cash’ is available at www.HenHouseStudios.com_________________________________________________________
Though he is best known as an actor, activist and frank spokesman for Indian people, Floyd Red Crow Westerman (Dakota) continues to fly in new directions, most recently with the release of the first works in a series of bronze busts of well-known Indian leaders of the past, and his first new recording in many years — at 71 years of age!
‘I guess I may never get to do a film series about all these great leaders as I’d hoped, but I am trying to honor them with these sculptures,’ Westerman says. ‘I want people to know that they were the defenders of this land and their people against the aggressive European Americans, who labeled them as red skin savages.’ They sought to protect the soul of their people against overwhelming odds and never faltered, even though, as I’ve tried to show, there was a sadness in their eyes at the end, seeing what was coming.’
So far, he has completed busts of Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph and Geronimo, and begun another series that will reflect scenes in Indian life- in this case a man holding the sacred pipe.
Though he began his musical career in the 1960s — his early albums ‘Custer Died for Your Sins’ and ‘The Land Is Your Mother’ have just been re-released on a 22 track CD titled ‘Going Back’. In recent years music has taken a back seat to his acting ( ‘Dances with Wolves’, ‘The Doors’, ‘Hidalgo’, etc. and numerous television roles ). However, with his deep bass voice and musical sensibilities honed on Hank Williams and other country greats, his newest CD, ‘A Tribute To Johnny Cash’ ( Hen House Studios ) is a perfect match for the artist as heard on such songs as ‘Ring of Fire,’ ‘Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,’ ‘Busted’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’
As his friend and fellow performer Kris Kristofferson says, ‘I think Johnny Cash would be especially proud of this tribute album. Not just because of his high regard for Floyd or his life long identification with Native Americans, but because it is such a respectful, loving portrayal of the man’s work.’
CBS Radio – 12/7/2006, Floyd Red Crow Westerman – A Tribute To Johnny Cash
One of the most unique albums of the year. An absolute must-have for Johnny Cash aficionados. Johnny himself would heartily approve.” “Four Stars (Highest Rating)
The Players: Floyd Red Crow Westerman, vocals, guitar; Backing Band: The Wild Javalinas. Keith Secola, guitar, backup vocals; Jimmy Vickers, bass, backup vocals’; Kurt Olson, drums. Special Guests: John Densmore (the Doors), drums, percussion; Otono Lujan, diatonic accordion; Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship), accordion; Chad Watson (Freddy Fender), guitar; Quese Imc, rapper.
Material: Native American singer / actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman paid tribute to Johnny Cash. Explaining that Cash was part Cherokee, as well as an unending supporter of Native American rights, Red Crow proceeded to honor him by playing hit after hit from ‘the Man in Black’s’ catalog. Naturally, the material was impeccable. But, what made it interesting was Red Crow’s interpretation, phrasing and overall presentation. Though familiar, he managed to make well-known tunes sound new.
Musicianship: Red Crow is an accomplished musician, but his vocals are especially noteworthy. He has a deep register, much like Cash’s, but he also possesses a Native American tonality that infuses each song with new spirit.
His backing band and special guests give credence to his standing among fellow artists. Superstar players rotated through-out the set, but never missed a beat. Indeed, it was prime time all the way.
Performance: Red Crow had such a star-studded ensemble playing with him that it was almost overwhelming. His elegant elocution, however, gave the proceedings a warmth and intimacy that overcame the star power. Even Dennis Banks, a Native American leader known for his 1973 role at the Wounded Knee seige, appeared for a song or two. Needless to say, this was not merely a performance — it was a special event.
Summary: Floyd Red Crow Westerman has recorded an album, produced by John Densmore of the Doors, called A Tribute To Johnny Cash. This show was his CD Release Party. Anyone with a smidgen of interest in Cash or Native American issues would find Red Crow’s presentation compelling. In fact, even those with only a musical curiosity will be more than surprised. This is as good as it gets.