Released this past Tuesday, Out Among The Stars (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) is yet another new album from the late Johnny Cash. These thirteen-tracks recorded in the early 80s have collected dust on a shelf in Cash’s old office for the last thirty years, but John Carter Cash notes in the album’s commentary that the songs represent his dad in his prime.
What a blessing to find this music. Dad recorded this record with Billy Sherrill, the veteran producer, back in 1984 and 81, mostly in 84. At that point in my life, my dad, well he’d been through some struggles in the early 80s. He had fallen back into drug addiction and in late 83, he went through recovery. So, we catch Dad here at a point in his life, when he was true, when he was aware, when his voice was perfect – when he was headed in a spiritual direction that was positive and meaningful for him. This music resonates in so many ways to my spirit. It’s not just about the perfect voice; it’s a memory to me of who my dad was at the time. And what a blessing to come face to face with that and remember that now and I feel like I’m with him again when I hear these recordings. – John Carter Cash
Unlike the pretentious take on this record (and Johnny’s alleged “trend chasing” motives) by The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky, I love this album and hope the Cash family continues to fling open the family vault with unreleased recordings like this.
And I’m not alone. On Friday, Brandon Flowers (of The Killers), Dawes, Father John Misty, and Local Natives – fellow Cash-obsessed contemporaries – worked with the phenomenal French blog La Blogothèque to produce a stunning and brilliantly directed short film of covers from the album. This is one of the best things I’ve seen in a long while.