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Irvine Jail Gets Rocked By Bobby “Cash” Millspaugh

The James Musick Jail in Irvine is one of Orange County's main detention facilities. For the last four years, Bob Millspaugh, or "Bobby Cash", as the inmates call him, has been holding a concert at the Musick Jail on the third Friday of every month. Each time, a makeshift stage is set up in the visiting room with its scenic view of the jail’s surrounding barbed wire fences.

A record number of inmates, 150, signed up to attend Millspaugh’s recent concert. That was nearly a third of the male population at the jail. Extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the fans.

Millspaugh’s set list includes a wide variety of songs, from gospel sing-a-longs to Johnny Cash hits. He doesn’t call himself a Christian singer, but rather a Christian who sings. He’s played at The Coach House and has opened twice at the Verizon Amphitheater - once for Christian rock band The Kry and again for singer Jeremy Camp. Bob’s favorite venue though is the jail.

I mean, I dig it here, man,” he tells his audience between songs. “There’s no place I’d rather be.” And he means it.

Millspaugh is the child of a strict Baptist father and a gospel-singing mother. After singing a Led Zeppelin song for his junior high talent show, Bob knew he wanted to be a singer. When he graduated high school, he worked on the gondolas in the Naples canals, crooning Frank Sinatra love songs to help pay for school.

When he graduated with a communications degree, Millspaugh set out to Costa Rica where he worked with an orphanage for four years. Later, a church in Orange County reached out to him to lead its college ministry. After another four years in that role, Bob left to pursue a music career.

He was invited to play for inmates at Chino State Prison and Millspaugh was delighted to find it an enjoyable experience. He has also played at the Santa Ana Jail and the Theo Lacy Jail. The Musick jail is his regular spot though.

I’ve never been in jail, but I think everybody needs a second chance, and maybe even a third. I feel like God has a heart for everybody and I feel like most people do the best they can. In our hearts we all struggle.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Bobby 'Cash' Rocks Irvine Jail," by Kevin Sullivan

Published: 09/28/2011