When asked for the story behind this week’s posthumous release of Johnny Cash’s Out Among the Stars, a “lost” album recorded in the early ’80s with fabled Nashville producer Billy Sherrill, his son, John Carter Cash, quickly reels off a laundry list of reasons.
“It seemed to be a cohesive body of work,” Cash, 44, said from the family’s headquarters in Hendersonville, Tenn. A few years ago he came across the never-released recordings while organizing the bounty of archival materials left behind by his father and his mother, June Carter Cash, after their deaths in 2003. “Working with [project co-producer] Steve Berkowitz,” he said, “it struck us as a unique and beautiful Johnny Cash record.”
But more than that, Out Among the Stars,/em> is a strongly personal project for John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny and June. “When these tapes were rediscovered and I heard them again, I was reminded of this man who was my friend,” said Cash, who was 14 when most of the album’s songs were recorded in 1984. “He and I were very close in 1980s. So it’s a really personal connection for me to hear this.”