Musician and Country Music Foundation president Marty Stuart is at work on a labor of love, a songwriter’s tribute to his former boss and former father-in-law, Johnny Cash. The album, which will feature appearances by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and others, will be released on May 28th.
While the track listing isn’t finalized, Stuart has so far enlisted Dylan (who will cover “Train of Love”); Springsteen (“Give My Love to Rose”); Dwight Yoakam (“Understand Your Man”); Little Richard (“Get Rhythm”); Keb’ Mo’ (“Folsom Prison Blues”); Travis Tritt (“I Walk the Line”); and Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and Mary Chapin Carpenter (“Flesh and Blood”). As the focus is on Cash the songwriter, one of his biggest hits, “Ring of Fire” — penned by Merle Kilgore and Cash’s then-wife-to-be, June Carter — won’t likely make the cut.
Cash and Stuart’s professional relationship dates back to the late Seventies, when the latter ended his tenure with Doc and Merle Watson and joined Cash’s band. Stuart first appeared on Cash’s 1983 album, Johnny 99, which, appropriately enough, featured two Springsteen songs.
The Cash tribute album will be one of a series of Cash releases celebrating his seventieth birthday (February 26th). On February 12th, Sony/Legacy will release the two-CD The Essential Johnny Cash, Cash’s only full career-spanning anthology, including “The Wanderer,” a track he recorded for U2’s Zooropa. And on March 19th, five Cash classics — The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1958, his first recording for Columbia), Hymns by Johnny Cash (1959), Ride This Train (1960), Orange Blossom Special (1965) and Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash — have been remastered and will be reissued with bonus tracks.
Cash is currently in the midst of recording his fourth album with Rick Rubin, who produced American Recordings (1994), Unchained (1996) and American III: Solitary Man (2000).