Johnny Cash's Son Announces '4 or 5 More' Unheard Albums to Come, Following 'Out Among the Stars' Release
A month ago today, country music fans (or, really, any music fans) doffed our caps and saluted what would have been the 82nd birthday of everyone's favorite outlaw, the Man in Black, Johnny Cash. After a lifetime of groundbreaking prison concerts, high-profile romance, Nine Inch Nails covers, and other biopic-worthy life events (see: Walk the Line), Cash tragically passed away from diabetes complications in 2003. But little did we know, his musical career was far from over:
Yesterday, fans were treated to the official release of Cash's "lost LP," Out Among the Stars — songs recorded in the early '80s that were apparently abandoned shortly thereafter, just tapes gathering dust on a shelf in Sony's basement until they were uncovered last year by archivists at the label's Legacy project, in collaboration with the singer's son, John Carter Cash. Now, these 12 never-before-heard tracks (including a duet with June Carter Cash) are available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, as well as streaming exclusively via The Guardian — and while fans might quibble that, say, the sound rings a little overproduced for the man who brought us one of the rawest albums in memory with Live at Folsom Prison, ultimately, it's hard to beat the fact that, y'know, there is another Johnny Cash album, and we get to listen to it. And if that's enough to get you going, then you'd better brace yourself, because according to John Carter Cash, there's likely "four to five albums" of material still left over in the vaults.
Situated as we are in the age of the MP3 and YouTube and the special "bonus tracks" box set release, it's almost impossible to imagine such an oversight — that such music-historical gold could simply be left languishing somewhere, never to be heard were it not for some diligent combing through cobweb-clogged archives. Instead, musicians today tend to face the threat of over-sharing — see: Oasis's planned three-album re-release, starting with a souped-up demo- and acoustic-packed edition of their breakout Definitely, Maybe this upcoming May. This is not to start a pissing contest between the two artists, of course — you can hoard your '90s Brit-rock right alongside your deep-voiced country, just as you please — but it does make one wonder what other artists are getting the attic treatment in favor of some more recent cachet-laden acts. I say we put a shoulder into this Legacy project, stat. Who knows what else might be hiding on Sony's shelves?
Meanwhile, for Cash's part, his "lost LP" isn't necessarily perfect, but it is uniquely Man-in-Black through and through — blunt, often tragic truths doled out in his unmistakable baritone. On the title track, for example, he croons gravelly and half-spoken, "You know that when they're shooting at this loser, they'll be shooting at the demons in their lives" — and it can't help but send chills down your spine, because when did you think you'd ever hear that voice again, outside of re-re-replays of "Folsom Prison Blues"? In short, thank you millions, John Carter Cash, because if Out Among the Stars is any indication, then we've got a helluva lot to look forward to.