The country music world lost one of its most beloved sons in 2003. Johnny Cash left an everlasting impression on how stories are told through music.
Fans of the man in black’s work now have an opportunity to hear untold stories through his new album “Out Among the Stars,” which released Tuesday.
The album is a collection of studio recordings Cash made with producer Billy Sherrill in Nashville, Tenn. Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, discovered the lost ‘80s recordings. He stumbled on the songs in Hendersonville, Tenn., and began working on restoring them at the Cash Cabin Studios.
The 12 track album is a timeless representation of the man in black’s decades of work. It bridges the gap between his early work with Sun Records and his later collections with American Recordings.
The album begins with “Out Among the Stars,” the title track. Cash’s distinctive baritone voice comes to the foreground as he speaks of hardship and troubles, explaining how we all have demons in our lives, so we must be considerate of others’ struggles.
The album picks up the pace with no hesitation on the second song, “Baby Ride Easy.” A collaboration with his wife June Carter Cash, the song begins with the classic country rhythm of fast-paced bass and snare as Cash strums his guitar. The couple’s energy lifts the song up as their passion and love for music and one another become apparent.
The next two songs, “She Used to Love Me a Lot” and “After All,” work together to produce a perfect transition between the faster and slower paces of the collaborations. The songs slow down the flow of the tracks, as both focus on the tone of voice Cash produces. His unique blend of lyricism and vocal strength makes these songs the album’s most inspiring pieces.
Cash also performs a cover of Hank Snow’s old country classic “I’m Movin’ On” in collaboration with country music legend Waylon Jennings. It’s apparent the two enjoyed creating this track because of their uplifting spirit and energy throughout.
One of Cash’s greatest qualities through the years was his way of using humor to produce classic songs. “If I Told You Who It Was” is one of those humorous songs. With funny lyrics and an upbeat personality, Cash tells a story of meeting a famous musician and creating a short-lived relationship. He continues this humorous composition later in the album on “I Drove Her Out of My Mind.”
Cash speaks of morals on two of the album’s more country influenced songs. “Call Your Mother” is a cheerful song describing the importance of respecting one’s parents, while “Tennessee” speaks of staying true to one’s homeland as he tells a story of his love for the state he resided in for more than 30 years.
The album ends on an inspirational track. “I Came to Believe” tells the story of Cash moving from a man struggling with addiction and pain to a man of faith.
The lost tracks show that while music has lost one of the best artists of the last century, his music will forever live on through others.
“Out Among the Stars” is available for purchase through iTunes. The album can also be streamed through Spotify.