Friday, February 16, 2007
– The life of the late country music legend June Carter Cash will be celebrated this June 19, 4 days before her birthday, with the simultaneous release of an all-star tribute album and a memoir/biography written by her son, John Carter Cash.
"Anchored In Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash" (Dualtone) was conceived and produced by Cash, the only child of Johnny and June, and features songs written by or associated with the beloved singer, and performed by singers including Elvis Costello, Billy Bob Thornton, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson. The disc was recorded throughout 2006, primarily at the fabled Cash Cabin Studio on the Cash property in Hendersonville, Tenn.
The CD will coincide with the publication of Cash's book, "Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash" (Thomas Nelson). The only biography of June Carter Cash available, the book describes John Carter's vivid recollections of life with his mother as it chronicles her life from childhood in Appalachia, the early days touring with the Carter Family band, her marriages before Johnny Cash, her early fame, her romance with Johnny Cash and her many ups and downs that followed.
Says John Carter Cash, "I hope through these pages people may come to know my mother in some of the ways I have known her, that though they may read of her pain, they will see her strength and beauty most of all."
About "Anchored In Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash," John Carter said, "Almost all of the people who participated in the album were family or friends who knew her personally. Everyone who appears on the record, whether they knew her or not, respected her and loved her dearly. Emmylou Harris was a close friend for years and years. Mom was a close friend with Billy Bob Thornton, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn and Willie Nelson. It's just a gathering of loved ones, really, to pay homage to her music. She wrote some of the songs, like 'Ring of Fire,' and the very personal 'Song to John,' which Emmylou sings; most of the rest are songs that she perpetuated or made famous like 'Wildwood Flower' (sung by Loretta Lynn) and 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken.'"
Costello sings "Ring of Fire." "I always had Costello in mind to sing 'Ring of Fire,'" said Cash. "He was very close with both of my parents, and it was his suggestion that we use autoharp in order to focus more on my mother's version of the song rather than my father's version."
Other performances range from a dynamic duet between between Nelson and Crow on the lead-off track "If I Were A Carpenter" to Carlene Carter and Ronnie Dunn's foot-stomping duet on "Jackson" to Thornton and the Peasall Sisters' austere interpretation of "Road to Kaintuck," and Roseanne Cash's take on the spiritual "Wings of Angels."
Ralph Stanley recorded "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" in the old Carter family home in southwest Virginia, the lifelong home of June's mother, Maybelle Carter. Cash remembers, "It was an enlightening and unforgettable experience to see such an icon of regal standing paying respects to one of his contemporaries."
Cash found the experience of working with Lynn similarly gratifying, describing it as "a beautiful experience. She told stories about my mother from the early days in the 1960s and how they were on the road together. But the most overwhelming thing to me about being around Loretta is how much like my mother she is - her temperance, her speech, how caring she is as a human being. So it was very touching to be in the studio with her; it was almost like being in the studio with my mom."
"Some of the musicians who played on the tracks - Randy Scruggs, Norman Blake, Dave Roe, Marty Stuart, Dennis Crouch, my wife Laura - knew my mother very well. But I have to step back and say that a lot of it is just creative magic. That is just what happens when you put great artists and great songs together. It comes out in respect to her, and that common thread is clear."
Other songs on the disc are:
"Far Side Banks of Jordan" - Patty Loveless and Kris Kristofferson; "Keep On the Sunny Side" - Brad Paisley; "Big Yellow Peaches" - Grey De Lisle and "Kneeling Drunkard Plea" - Billy Joe Shaver.