Johnny Cash’s Forgotten 1980s Sessions Due March 25

Lost Project Includes Duets With June Carter Cash, Waylon Jennings

A forgotten collection of music Johnny Cash recorded in the 1980s will be released for the first time on March 25. Titled Out Among the Stars, the 12-song project will feature two duets with June Carter Cash and one with Waylon Jennings.

The recordings were made in Nashville with producer Billy Sherrill in 1981 and 1984 but have never been issued commercially. Sherrill was head of A&R at CBS Records at the time Cash was still recording for the label.

The project will be released by Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music. The sessions were discovered while John Carter Cash was cataloging his father’s recordings with the label’s archivists.

“When my parents passed away, it became necessary to go through this material,” he says. “We found these recordings that were produced by Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s. … They were beautiful.”

The studio band included a young Marty Stuart on guitar, as well as Nashville A-Team musicians like guitarist Jerry Kennedy, steel guitarist Pete Drake, piano player Hargus “Pig” Robbins and bassist Henry Strzelecki.

The recordings, which have never been released in any form, are not demos, outtakes or alternate versions. They remained in the vaults during the years Columbia Records (formerly CBS Records) released Cash’s last albums for the label and were subsequently forgotten.

The collection includes two songs Cash wrote: “Call Your Mother” and “I Came to Believe.”

John Carter Cash, along with co-producer and archivist Steve Berkowitz, enlisted Stuart, Buddy Miller and Carlene Carter, as well as other master musicians, to collaborate in restoring the album at the Cash Cabin Studios in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Craig Shelburne has been writing for CMT.com since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.