Johnny Cash Is Still a 'Songwriter' on Unearthed 1993 Album

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Jun 28, 2024

In early 1993 Johnny Cash was in limbo, floating between contracts. Unsure of where he was meant to be, he headed into LSI Studios in Nashville with a handful of songs he'd written over many years, songs that felt special to him. Not long after the session, however, Cash met producer Rick Rubin —and  those LSI recordings were shelved as the two embarked on a musical partnership that revitalized Cash's career. 

Some thirty years later, John Carter Cash — the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash — rediscovered the songs and stripped them down to their meat-and-potatoes original forms, just Cash's vocals and acoustic guitar. Along with co-producer David "Fergie" Ferguson, the two invited a group of musicians that played with Johnny, including guitarist Marty Stuart and the late bassist Dave Roe, plus drummer Pete Abbott and others, to Hendersonville, Tennessee's Cash Cabin.

The resulting album is called Songwriter, featuring songs written solely by Cash, the 11-track collection showcases the breadth of his once-in-a-lifetime songwriting. There are "songs of love, family, sorrow, beauty, spiritual salvation, survival, redemption," and just a bit of Cash's trademark humour.

"Dad's advice with anything, whether it was life or making music, was always 'follow your heart," said John Carter in a statement about the record. 

He continued: "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."

Stream Songwriter below. 

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