Cold Hard Cash (a Montana-Based Johnny Cash Tribute) Band Lands Gig on the Late Show with David Letterman

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Due largely to a performance before an appreciative small-town crowd which happened to include talk-show host David Letterman, Montana-based Cold Hard Cash will be performing on the coveted musical slot of the Late Show this November 18th, 2008.

The members of Cold Hard Cash, Merle Travis Peterson of Great Falls on guitar and vocals, Jeffrey Carrol of Sand Coulee on bass and Felipe Torres on drums have been asked to perform on Late Night with David Letterman. All members of the band grew up together in Great Falls, and although all are former Missoulians, only Torres currently resides in Missoula.

Letterman saw Cold Hard Cash perform at a 3rd of July performance in small-town Choteau, MT (population 1700) which is put on yearly by the local Jaycees. Throughout the years, the small venue has seemed to be gifted with finding talented country musicians (Rascal Flats, Martina McBride, Toby Keith) before they became too-famous to play a small gig like Choteau. Mr. Letterman owns a ranch outside of Choteau, and it is often speculated that he likes the small-town celebration because he is able to blend in and is mostly respectfully left alone to enjoy the festivities. Letterman was obviously enjoying the show- clapping and singing along with the rest of the town but no one expected that the band would be invited to New York City to be viewed by millions of viewers.

Cold Hard Cash has gained a reputation regionally and now nationwide as being one band that can truly deliver the authentic cash sound. "We are not trying to improve on the Cash sound", says drummer Felipe Torres. "People want to hear and see Johnny Cash songs sung and played like Cash did them at his very best- not their own interpretation. There are a whole lot of really young Cash fans who never got to see him live and that is a shame. We are just simply trying to spread the work of Johnny Cash as an artist and a person."

Merle Peterson who eerily adopts the persona of Cash when on stage is a life-time musician with a theater background who started the band in 2004 after years of searching for a group of musicians who were enthusiastic about the concept "I came up with the name Cold Hard Cash in 2000 while I was watching a Black Sabbath tribute band at a Missoula bar. I thought, why can't someone do this with Johnny Cash songs?" Merle found a kindred Cash soul in John Burrey, who unfortunately passed away in 2007.

Finally, Peterson has the band that he feels can really deliver his dream of honoring Johnny Cash and his music. A 3-piece, Peterson says the band members are "really hard workers and good musicians" a combination that is not always easy to find. Our dads were all pretty tough on us, so I think it instilled a work ethic that is rare. Jeffrey Carrol is the one that Merle credits with having the strongest and most critical musical ear in the band, and the one who arranged all of the songs to sound the most authentic. Felipe Torres, although a long-time friend, is the most recent addition to the band. Peterson says of Torres, "Felipe is simply the best drummer I've ever played with. He's ambitious and a hard worker and since he started playing with us, the crowd dances non-stop." Torres is also the drummer and founder of local Missoula based band Thetan Revival.

For those who would like to catch Cold Hard Cash live before the Letterman performance, they can be seen on the following dates: The Sting in Great Falls on Sept. 6th, The Heritage Inn in Great Falls on Sept. 10th as part of the Montana Tavern Owners Association and Sept. 27th at the Glacier Peaks Casino in Browning.

Contact Information:
CHC Booking
Felipe Torres
Email: chcbooking(at)


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