New Johnny Cash Album 'Songwriter' Coming From Previously Unreleased Recordings

The album is due out June 28th and features songs written solely by Johnny Cash.

By: Apr. 23, 2024
New Johnny Cash Album 'Songwriter' Coming From Previously Unreleased Recordings
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A new Johnny Cash album, made from previously unreleased recordings, is on the way.

In early 1993, the legendary Johnny Cash found himself between contracts in his then nearly 40-year career and recorded an album’s worth of songwriting demos at LSI Studios in Nashville of songs he’d written over many years. LSI at the time was owned by his son-in-law Mike Daniels and daughter Rosey, and he wanted to help the family financially while also record some songs special to him.

Not long after the fruitful session, Johnny met producer Rick Rubin, and the recordings were shelved as the two embarked on an important and prolific musical partnership that revitalized the Man in Black’s career that would last the rest of his life.  

Some thirty years later, John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash, rediscovered the songs and stripped them back to just Johnny’s powerful, pristine vocals and acoustic guitar.

Along with co-producer David “Fergie” Ferguson, the two invited a handpicked group of musicians that played with Johnny, including guitarist Marty Stuart and the late bassist Dave Roe, along with drummer Pete Abbott and several others, to the Cash Cabin, a hallowed space in Hendersonville, Tenn. where Johnny would write, record and relax, to breathe new life into the tracks, taking the sound back to the roots and heart of the songs.

Releasing June 28th via Mercury Nashville/UMe, the simply and aptly titled Songwriter, features songs written solely by Johnny Cash, one of America’s greatest songwriters and storytellers. Returning the focus to Johnny’s own songwriting, the 11-track collection showcases the breadth of his writing, one that has always represented the great expanse of the human condition: there are songs of love, family, sorrow, beauty, spiritual salvation, survival, redemption, and of course, some of the lighthearted humor Johnny was known for, all sung in his unmistakable, trademark, resonant voice. 

Songwriter will be available to stream and download, as well as on CD and a variety of vinyl options, including standard black and several limited edition color variants.

Songwriter is being previewed with the release of the first single, “Well Alright,” an upbeat and infectious tune about finding love in of all places, the laundry mat. With its humorous lyrics, galloping beat and taut acoustic upright bass “Well Alright” is prime Johnny Cash, harkening back to his ‘50s hits such as “Get Rhythm,” “Five Feet High and Rising,” “Cry! Cry! Cry!” and “Big River.”

“Dad’s advice with anything, whether it was life or making music, was always ‘follow your heart,” said John Carter. And it is this truism of his father’s that let guide him every step of the way when making Songwriter. After stripping the original recordings back to just Johnny’s vocals and guitar, he reached out to Fergie, a longtime friend and Johnny’s go-to engineer for nearly thirty years, and the two set off to create an album that would honor and amplify Johnny’s songwriting and timeless voice, while staying true to the spirit of the recordings. Along with John Carter, Fergie is arguably one of the people that knew best what Johnny liked when it came to recording as they worked together beginning in the early 1980s when he was Cowboy Jack Clement’s in-house engineer where Johnny often liked to record. He would go on to work with him on many records, including most of his Mercury albums and the acclaimed American Recordings series with Rick Rubin, even recording his last-ever songs in his final days in 2003. “He was always my hero and I just felt like the luckiest guy in the world to get to record him,” said Fergie.

Ultimately, Songwriter is all about putting the spotlight back on Johnny’s songwriting. “I wanted it to be songs that mostly people hadn't heard and that paid close attention to who he was as a songwriter and who he was as an American voice,” said John Carter. “One of my most important focuses in the past 10 years is to make sure that history, as best that I can possibly, is to give history the opportunity to notice him as the great writer he is. Bob Dylan says he's one of the greatest writers of all of American written music and I agree. I want to put that in the forefront. His writing voice specifically is a certain voice, that I think if America wants to know their history, that's a good place to look. Johnny Cash is definitely one true voice that we can listen to, specifically to his writings.”



1. Hello Out There
2. Spotlight

3. Drive On

4. I Love You Tonite

5. Have You Ever Been to Little Rock?

6. Well Alright

7. She Sang Sweet Baby James

8. Poor Valley Girl

9. Soldier Boy

10. Sing It Pretty Sue

11. Like A Soldier


Side A

1. Hello Out There

2. Spotlight

3. Drive On

4. I Love You Tonite

5. Have You Ever Been To Little Rock?
Side B

1. Well Alright

2. She Sang Sweet Baby James

3. Poor Valley Girl

4. Soldier Boy

5. Sing It Pretty Sue

6. Like A Soldier


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