An A-list group of artists—including Willie Nelson, Kacey Musgraves, Alison Krauss, Kris Kristofferson, Brad Paisley and more—have been tapped to record songs curated from Johnny Cash’s poetry, lyrics and letters.
The new 16-song album, Johnny Cash: Forever Words, will be released on April 6.
When Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash died in 2003, they left behind what son John Carter Cash described as a “monstrous amassment” of things, including Johnny Cash’s handwritten letters, poems and documents.
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 writings. Artists featured on the new album included Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Ruston Kelly, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell, Alison Krauss and Union Station, T. Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, John Mellencamp, Jewel, Elvis Costello, Carlene Carter, Daily and Vincent, I’m With Her, Robert Glasper, Ro James, Anu Sun, The Jayhawks and Jamey Johnson.
“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.”
A couple of the album’s highlights include “Forever/I Still Miss Someone,” which features Kris Kristofferson reciting the last poem Johnny ever wrote alongside guitar accompaniment from Willie Nelson, as well as “To June This Morning,” a letter Johnny wrote to his wife that was interpreted by real-life couple Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves.
Watch the Johnny Cash: Forever Words trailer below.
Johnny Cash: Forever Words Track List & Artists
“Forever/I Still Miss Someone” – Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
“To June This Morning” – Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves
“Gold All Over the Ground” – Brad Paisley
“You Never Knew My Mind” – Chris Cornell
“The Captain’s Daughter” – Alison Krauss and Union Station
“Jellico Coal Man” – T. Bone Burnett
“The Walking Wounded” – Rosanne Cash
“Them Double Blues” – John Mellencamp
“Body on Body” – Jewel
“I’ll Still Love You” – Elvis Costello
“June’s Sundown” – Carlene Carter
“He Bore It All” – Daily and Vincent
“Chinky Pin Hill” – I’m With Her
“Goin’, Goin’, Gone” – Robert Glasper featuring Ro James, and Anu Sun
“What Would I Dreamer Do?” – The Jayhawks
“Spirit Rider” – Jamey Johnson
photo by Carissa Riccardi