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Johnny Cash's Upcoming 'Songwriter' Features Previously Unreleased Demos

Listen to the first single, 'Well Alright.'

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Source: Alan Messer

The Man in Black returns.

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Legendary country music artist Johnny Cash may have passed away more than 20 years ago, but a brand new album's worth of material in on its way, the singer's label announced on April 23. Releasing June 28, the upcoming collection, titled Songwriter, contains unreleased songwriting demos from 1993, all written by the Man in Black himself. Listen to the first single, "Well Alright," below.

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Source: ℗ © BMG, House of Cash/Johnny Cash/YouTube

Johnny Cash - Well Alright (Official Visualizer)

The songs date back to 1993, when Cash was between artist contracts, and decided to record demo tunes of his own at LSI Studios in Nashville, owned by his son-in-law Mike Daniels and daughter Rosey. After the recording sessions, however, Cash met producer Rick Rubin, and the recordings were shelved as the pair began the journey of re-discovering Cash's legacy and endurance with the widely celebrated American series of albums from 1994 until Cash's death in 2003.

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Cash shelved the recordings after meeting producer Rick Rubin, with whom he would record multiple albums.

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Fast forward 30-odd years later to John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June Carter. With the help of long-time Cash engineer David Ferguson, the younger Cash went back to the demos, stripping them down to just guitar and vocal. He and Ferguson then invited former Cash musical collaborators, including guitarist Marty Stuart (a member of the Tennessee Three from 1980-86) and the late bassist Dave Roe, who toured with Cash for nearly a decade. Along with drummer Pete Abbott (Average White Band) and several others, they all worked to restore the recordings and flesh out the arrangements. What they ended up with were the 11 tracks for Songwriter.

“We just went rudimentary,” said Cash in a statement. “We went straight to the roots, as far as the sound, and tried not to overly enhance it. We built as if dad was in the room. That's what we tried to do. Between the both of us, Fergie and I have spent thousands of hours with dad in the recording studio, so we just tried to act like he was there: WWJCD, right?"

Source: Universal Archive/Universal Images Group/Newscom/The Mega Agency

June and Johnny onstage, now getting full restoration on 'Songwriter.'

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Several of Cash's famous friends and fans also make appearances on the album, including Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, who plays guitar on the song "Spotlight," and Vince Gill, who provides vocals on "Poor Valley Girl." Cash's fellow country legend and longtime friend Waylon Jennings, who died a year before Cash, sang on two songs during the original demo sessions: "I Love You Tonite" and "Like A Soldier."

Source: ℗ © BMG, House of Cash/Johnny Cash/YouTube

Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues (Live In Las Vegas, 1979)

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Songwriter will be available to stream and download, as well as on CD and a variety of vinyl options, including standard black and several limited edition color variants. You can pre-order at his official website here and here.


1. Hello Out There

2. Spotlight

3. Drive On

4. I Love You Tonite

5. Have You Ever Been to Little Rock?

6. Well Alright

7. She Sang Sweet Baby James

8. Poor Valley Girl

9. Soldier Boy

10. Sing It Pretty Sue

11. Like A Soldier


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