“If America wants to know its history, Johnny Cash is one true voice we can listen to”: New posthumous Johnny Cash album set for release in June

Songwriter will be Cash’s first posthumous studio album since 2014’s Out Among the Stars.

Johnny Cash playing guitar

Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

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A new posthumous album by singer-songwriter Johnny Cash is set to be released on 28 June, titled Songwriter. It features 11 previously unheard Cash tracks, the first being Well Alright, which landed yesterday (23 April).

Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, co-produced Songwriter alongside David “Fergie” Ferguson, the engineer who worked with Rick Rubin to record Cash’s 1994 album American Recordings, and the album also features guest appearances by blues rock duo The Black Keys and country singer Vince Gill.

Meanwhile, a number of musicians who played with Cash during his lifetime also make appearances on the album, including guitarist Marty Stuart, drummer Pete Abbott, and the late bassist Dave Roe, who died in 2023. Cash’s vocal performances from the original demos have been added on top.

The demos used on the album are of songs Cash had written between recording contracts leading up to 1993. But before he could work them into an album, he met Rubin and got involved with the American Recordings project.

Among the tracks to be reworked for Songwriter are Hello Out There, which looks at the state of the world, Drive On, which was written during a struggle with chronic pain after a broken jaw, and Like a Soldier, which tackles drug addiction.

Meanwhile, I Love You Tonite is a love song Cash wrote for his wife, June Carter Cash, and Poor Valley Girl is about June and her mother Maybelle Carter – also a country musician.

“Dad’s advice with anything, whether it was life or making music, was always ‘follow your heart,” says John Carter Cash. “Nobody plays Cash better than Marty Stuart, and Dave Roe of course played with dad for many years. The musicians that came in were just tracking with dad, you know, recording with dad, just as, in the case of Marty and Dave, they had many times before, so they knew his energies, his movements, and they let him be the guide. It was just playing with Johnny once again, and that’s what it was. That was the energy of the creation.

“I wanted it to be songs that mostly people hadn’t heard and that paid close attention to who he was as a songwriter and who he was as an American voice,” he adds. “One of my most important focuses in the past 10 years is to make sure that history, as best that I can possibly, is to give history the opportunity to notice him as the great writer he is.

Bob Dylan says he’s one of the greatest writers of all of American written music and I agree. I want to put that in the forefront. His writing voice specifically is a certain voice, that I think if America wants to know their history, that’s a good place to look. Johnny Cash is definitely one true voice that we can listen to, specifically to his writings.”

“He was always my hero and I just felt like the luckiest guy in the world to get to record him,” says Ferguson. “I would think Johnny would say what he said about every record that I worked on with him, every record I think he ever made, when he got to the end of it, he always said, ‘I think it’s the best record I’ve ever made.’ You could count on that. I could just hear him say that. I think he’d be really proud of it.”

Cash died in 2003 at the age of 71 from complications of diabetes, and the fourth American Recordings album was the last of his studio albums to be released during his lifetime. While Cash has had a number of posthumous albums released, Songwriter is set to be the first Johnny Cash studio album since 2014’s Out Among the Stars.

To pre-order Songwriter, head to Johnny Cash’s official website.


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