New Release: Various Artists – Johnny Cash: Forever Words

Newly-discovered and unpublished poems and lyrics written by Johnny Cash, have been transformed into Johnny Cash: Forever Words, a collaborative album featuring new music by Chris Cornell, Ruston Kelly & Kacey Musgraves, Rosanne Cash, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Kris Kristofferson & Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley, John Mellencamp, Carlene Carter, Elvis Costello, The Jayhawks, and many more

Released this April 6th via Sony’s Legacy Recordings, you can watch a trailer here…

When Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash passed, they left behind what John Carter Cash, their son and Johnny Cash: Forever Words co-producer, describes as a “monstrous amassment” of things, including a treasure trove of undiscovered material that includes Johnny Cash’s handwritten letters, poems and documents, penned across the entirety of his life. Over the past two years, album producers John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz invited a stellar cast of musicians to create new music to accompany these newly discovered Cash writings

Recorded primarily at The Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Johnny Cash: Forever Words is also the musical companion to the best-selling ‘Forever Words: The Unknown Poems’, a volume of Cash’s unpublished writing edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and curated by John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz

Many of the songs on Johnny Cash: Forever Words were directly inspired by material in the book while others are drawn from different sources of Cash’s unpublished writings. The tone of the album is established with the opening track Forever/I Still Miss Someone, featuring Kris Kristofferson reciting the last poem Cash ever wrote alongside guitar accompaniment from Willie Nelson, both lifelong friends of Johnny. Continuing the close-to-home theme, the music then transitions to the deeply personal To June This Morning, a letter Johnny wrote to his wife, June Carter Cash, now interpreted by real-life couple Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves

Twenty-one years after Johnny Cash recorded his cover of Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage for his Grammy Award winning album, Unchained, Chris Cornell continues this special relationship with You Never Knew My Mind, setting some of Cash’s own poignant and introspective words to original music on one of Cornell’s last solo recordings

The album also showcases Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, who interpreted her father’s The Walking Wounded, marking just the second time that she has collaborated on a record with her half-brother John Carter Cash. John Carter Cash also collaborated here with his half-sister Carlene, his mother June’s first daughter, on June’s Sundown. Carlene Carter was just twelve years old when her mother June Carter married Johnny Cash, but bonded immediately with her stepfather who she referred to as “Big John”

“Determining the artist for each song was truly a matter of the heart,” said John Carter Cash. “I picked the artists who are most connected with my father, who had a personal story that was connected with Dad. It became an exciting endeavor to go through these works, to put them together and present them to different people who could finish them in a way that I believed that Dad would have wanted”

Tracklisting as follows…

1. Forever/I Still Miss Someone – Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
2. To June This Morning – Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves
3. Gold All Over the Ground – Brad Paisley
4. You Never Knew My Mind – Chris Cornell
5. The Captain’s Daughter – Alison Krauss and Union Station
6. Jellico Coal Man – T. Bone Burnett
7. The Walking Wounded – Rosanne Cash
8. Them Double Blues – John Mellencamp
9. Body on Body – Jewel
10. I’ll Still Love You – Elvis Costello
11. June’s Sundown – Carlene Carter
12. He Bore It All – Daily and Vincent
13. Chinky Pin Hill – I’m With Her
14. Goin’, Goin’, Gone – Robert Glasper featuring Ro James, and Anu Sun
15. What Would I Dreamer Do? – The Jayhawks
16. Spirit Rider – Jamey Johnson