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There's new never-before-heard music coming from Johnny Cash.
Cash's estate is releasing Out Among the Stars, an album he recorded with Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s that was never released by Columbia Records, then disappeared when the company dropped Cash in 1986. Turns out Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, stashed the tapes - along with just about everything else that came into their possession.
"They never threw anything away," said their son, John Carter Cash. "They kept everything in their lives. They had an archive that had everything in it 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."
They stored away so much, in fact, the younger Cash and archivists at Legacy Recordings didn't find the material until last year, long after the family began issuing archival music by Cash. Out Among the Stars will be out March 25, and continues an intense period of interest in the singer, who helped shape modern country and rock 'n' roll music and became an American pop cultural figure before his death 10 years ago at age 71.
Multiple music, book and restoration projects have been started in the past 18 months to mark what would have been the singer's 80th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his death. The music being released was recorded during a difficult period for Cash personally and professionally.
Columbia paired him with Sherrill, a producer and Country Music Hall of Fame member who was then the president of CBS Records Nashville. One of the main architects of country music's so-called countrypolitan sound, Sherrill helped push the genre toward pop sounds and conventions - and away from Cash's more independent-minded ways.