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Album Review

Various Artists – “Johnny Cash: Forever Words” [Album Review]

Bringing together a collection of amazingly-talented musicians such as Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Rosanne Cash and the late Chris Cornell, in Forever Words, John Carter Cash has produced a touching tribute to his father Johnny Cash.



Johnny Cash made such an impact on the world of music, and was such a prolific songwriter, that it should be expected that re-issues, compilation albums, and even the possibility that previously unreleased material could eventually become available. However, in the case of Forever Words, we are treated to a record that can only be seen as a labor of love rather than a cash-grab (pun intended). Since Cash’s passing, his son, John Carter Cash, has read over many of his father’s letters, poems and songs and made the decision that they should be heard by his fans. Bringing together a collection of amazingly-talented musicians such as Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Rosanne Cash and the late Chris Cornell, John has produced a touching tribute to his father.

Opening up the album is the short and sweet guitar accompanied poem, “Forever / I Still Miss Someone” performed by Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. It is the perfect intro, giving insight into Johnny Cash’s thoughts about his own mortality and the legacy he would leave behind. Meanwhile, “Gold All Over the Ground” (performed by Brad Paisley) is a touching country ballad of love that demonstrated the rebel in black’s softer side.

Possibly the hardest hitting song in the collection is “You Never Knew My Mind”, performed by Chris Cornell. The track’s title pretty much says it all; it is full of emotion and – given how Cornell chose to leave this earth – it becomes that much more heartbreaking to hear. Another emotional roller-coaster of a tune is performed by Cash’s daughter, Rosanne Cash: “The Walking Wounded”, a slow-paced, yet strangely uplifting tune about the ups and downs we all go through in life. It is possibly my personal favorite song on this album, although it is a hard choice given the options. Another close contender is “Body on Body”, performed by Jewel, who uses her immense talent to deliver a truly beautiful love song. That said, not all cuts are of a slow-paced nature; “Bore it All” by Dailey & Vincent is upbeat and catchy, backed by banjos and violins. I can’t help but picture the pair sat on a bale of hay in front of a barn happily playing away.

Watch the video for Rosanne Cash’s “The Walking Wounded” here.

If truth be told, I would not really class myself as a massive country music fan, but the music of Johnny Cash has always transcended the norm and broke barriers in genres – to this end, it makes sense that the artists involved in this project come from many different musical backgrounds. I think the best thing about Forever Words is that everyone involved took Johnny Cash’s words and put their own twist on things, but somehow remained true to the man. This is a must for any fan, or even the casual listener of Cash himself. Given the vast collection of material Johnny Cash left behind, there is a big possibility that this will not be the only album of this nature, meaning the legacy will live on with more amazing songs yet to be heard.

Forever Words Track Listing:

01. Forever / I Still Miss Someone
02. To June This Morning
03. Gold All Over the Ground
04. You Never Knew My Mind
05. The Captain’s Daughter
06. Jellico Coal Man
07. The Walking Wounded
08. Them Double Blues
09. Body on Body
10. I’ll Still Love You
11. June’s Sundown
12. He Bore it All
13. Chinky Pin Hill
14. Goin’, Goin’, Gone
15. What Would I Dreamer Do?
16. Spirit Rider

Run Time: 57:11
Release Date: April 6, 2018