Photo Credit: Alan Messer

A batch of mostly unreleased material has arrived as a posthumous release from country legend and bass-baritone purveyor the great Johnny Cash. Presented in full today, June 28, via Mercury Nashville/UMe, the album Songwriter delivers 11 tracks scribed by the “Man in Black” during his esteemed career. 

Songwriter arrives today due largely to Cash’s son and motivator behind the project, John Carter Cash. He took the opportunity to strip down the chosen songs, allowing them to radiate with the sheer talent of his father’s deep vocals and acoustic guitar prowess. In addition to the family, co-producer David Ferguson added his mark to round out the recordings and determine the presentation of the final compositions. 

Notably, the album was recorded at LSI Studios in Nashville, Tenn., while Cash was unsigned to a label and unclear on the future of his musical career. While the collection was inevitably shelved and proceeded by the Rick Rubin-led American Recordings, it nonetheless captures a pivotal moment in the musician’s last decade as a recording artist. 

As suggested by the title, Songwriter aims to capture Cash’s talents as a lyricist and composer through the presentation of 11 originals, including a pair of already released numbers, including a duet with fellow genre favorite, the late Waylon Jennings on “Like a Soldier,” and “Drive On,” both of which were included on the Rick Rubin produced, and aforementioned American Recordings

Guest contributors to the set include Vince Gill, who sings on “Poor Valley Girl,” and Dan Auerbach, who adds a guitar solo to “Spotlight.” In addition to Jenning’s assistance on the already-released “Like a Soldier,” he also lends his talents to an additional LP duet, “I Love You Tonite.” 

“The musicians that came in were just tracking with Dad,” John Carter mentioned previously, speaking about the LP. “[Y]ou know, recording with Dad, just as, in the case of Marty and Dave, they had many times before, so they knew his energies, his movements, and they let him be the guide. It was just playing with Johnny once again, and that’s what it was. That was the energy of the creation.”

Listen to Songwriter now.