Lost Johnny Cash album to be released in 2014

Newly uncovered material from the late country singer's 1980s archive will be available in spring, entitled Out Among The Stars

A newly uncovered Johnny Cash album will be issued by his estate next year. Out Among The Stars, recorded by Cash and Billy Sherrill in 1981 and 1984, was never released by the country singers' then label Columbia Records .

"We were so excited when we discovered this," John Carter Cash, Johnny's son, told the Associated Press. "We were like, 'My goodness, this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard.'"

A collection of 12 songs, Out Among The Stars was recorded before Cash was dropped from his label. The Ring of Fire singer had fallen out of fashion with the rise of pop country and what his son describes as its "urban cowboy phase". Sherrill, then Columbia Records' head of artist development, was in some ways an architect of the modern sound. "I think [Johnny] working with Billy was sort of an effort by the record company to ... see what could happen at the heart of that machine," said the younger Cash.

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The recordings show Cash's voice in its "prime", John claims. "He's pitch perfect." Sherrill produced sessions that include a duet between Cash and his wife, June Carter, and one with Waylon Jennings. For this 2013 release, archivists embellished the original tracks with new overdubs by Buddy Miller, Cash's daughter Carlene, and Marty Stuart - who also played during the initial sessions.

Although Columbia originally believed this material wasn't worth releasing, Johnny and June stashed the recordings in their private archive. "They never threw anything away," John said. "[They have] everything ... from the original audio tapes from The Johnny Cash Show to random things like a camel saddle, a gift from the prince of Saudi Arabia." There was so much, in fact, that the family's executors only came across these tapes in 2012 - nine years after Cash's death.

"Dad was always uniquely himself," John Cash said. "He never modified himself ... And later on the world would come back around."

Out Among The Stars will be released by Legacy Recordings on 25 March 2014.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sean Michaels, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 11th December 2013 08.16 Europe/London

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