By Annie Reuter
Ten years after Johnny Cash‘s death, new music continues to be released. On March 25, 2014, Cash’s estate will drop Out Among the Stars.
According to details revealed today by Legacy Recordings, which is releasing the collection, Cash recorded Out Among the Stars in the early 1980s with Billy Sherrill, the ‘countrypolitan’ producer who helped shape the classic sounds of such legends as Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich and George Jones. The album was recorded in Nashville during sessions in 1981 and ’84 but never released.
After the album failed to see the light of day, though, the tapes remained in the vault at Columbia (which was Cash’s label at the time) and eventually wound their way to the Cash family archives. John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash, recently came across the tapes while cataloging his parents’ extensive archives.
“When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material,” John Carter Cash said. “We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s…they were beautiful.”
The 12 songs (see track listing below) are not demos or outtakes, they are true studio recordings. Accompanying Johnny Cash on the recordings was an ensemble featuring a young Marty Stuart on guitar and mandolin as well as Nashville A-Team members Jerry Kennedy (guitar), Pete Drake (steel guitar), Country Music Hall of Fame member Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano) and Henry Strzelecki (bass). Out Among the Stars also includes a duet with the late Waylon Jennings and two with June Carter Cash.
“They never threw anything away,” Cash said of his parents. “They kept everything in their lives. They had an archive that had everything in it from the original audio tapes from The Johnny Cash Show to random things like a camel saddle, a gift from the prince of Saudi Arabia.”
He went on to explain that his father likely didn’t release the songs because it was during country music’s Urban Cowboy phase. Both Cash’s label and producer Sherrill (also an executive at CBS Records Nashville) were leaning more in the direction of pop, something the Man in Black just didn’t agree with.
“We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard,” John Carter said. “Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He’s pitch perfect.”
Out Among the Stars is scheduled for release on March 25.
Out Among The Stars track listing:
1. Out Among The Stars
2. Baby Ride Easy – duet with June Carter Cash
3. She Used To Love Me A Lot
4. After All
5. I’m Movin’ On – duet with Waylon Jennings
6. If I Told You Who It Was
7. Call Your Mother (written by Johnny Cash)
8. I Drove Her Out Of My Mind
10. Rock and Roll Shoes
11. Don’t You Think It’s Come Our Time – duet with June Carter Cash
12. I Came To Believe (written by Johnny Cash)