Rosanne Cash remembers her father Johnny Cash always writing in notebooks. When he passed in 2003, he left an accumulation of original works that were later published for the first time in the 2016 collection, Forever Words: The Unknown Poems.
Cash’s words from the book have been set to music in the new collaborative album Johnny Cash: Forever Words, arriving April 6. Over the course of two years, producers John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz assembled an all-star cast of musicians to contribute performances for the album.
Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly sing “To June This Morning,” a letter Cash wrote to his wife, June Carter Cash. In one of his final solo recordings, the late rocker Chris Cornell puts his introspective words in “You Never Knew My Mind” to original music.
“Father was quite a prolific writer and all through his life he wrote poetry,” John Carter says. “There seems to be a beauty within these writings. And it became a focus to put some of these writings to music.
“He had such a diverse creativity. He wrote dirges; he wrote brokenhearted ballads; he wrote triumphant love songs; all of these things were part of who he was, and it comes out in these writings.”
The recording sessions took place at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn. Below is the full track listing for Johnny Cash: Forever Words.
1. “Forever/I Still Miss Someone” — Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
2. “To June This Morning” — Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves
3. “Gold All Over the Ground” — Brad Paisley
4. “You Never Knew My Mind” — Chris Cornell
5. “The Captain’s Daughter” — Alison Krauss and Union Station
6. “Jellico Coal Man” — T. Bone Burnett
7. “The Walking Wounded” — Rosanne Cash
8. “Them Double Blues” — John Mellencamp
9. “Body on Body” — Jewel
10. “I’ll Still Love You” — Elvis Costello
11. “June’s Sundown” — Carlene Carter
12. “He Bore It All” — Daily and Vincent
13. “Chinky Pin Hill” — I’m With Her
14. “Goin’, Goin’, Gone” — Robert Glasper featuring Ro James, and Anu Sun
15. “What Would I Dreamer Do?” — The Jayhawks
16. “Spirit Rider” — Jamey Johnson