Cash’s first album proper since 1997’s ‘Unchained’, it’s also been produced by longtime associate Rick Rubin and features guest appearances from Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Sheryl Crow.
It is the third time Rubin and Cash have come together, 1994’s return from the critical wilderness ‘American Recordings’ being the first. As on the previous two occasions the album sees Cash perform some new original tracks as well as take on a variety of covers. Amongst the artists getting the Cash overhaul will be U2 (‘One’), Nick Cave (‘The Mercy Seat’), Neil Diamond (‘Solitary Man’) and Will Oldham (‘I See A Darkness’).
As on ‘Unchained’ Cash will be joined on some numbers by Tom Petty. However, unlike that record, which saw the Man In Black cover songs by Beck, Danzig and Soundgarden, the tracks will be much more basic and stripped down.
He was quoted in a rare interview with Billboard magazine in May explaining: “I don’t have over two instruments on any song. It’s gonna be acoustic, unless somethin’ sounds like it needs electric guitar overdubbin’ or somethin’ like that. But I don’t think so.” And in the sleeve notes for ‘Solitary Man’ he explains the reasoning behind the covers he chose.
“The song is the thing that matters,” he writes. “Before I can record, I have to hear it, sing it, and know that I can make it feel like my own, or it won’t work. I worked on these songs until it felt like they were my own – ‘Mercy Seat’, ‘Solitary Man’, ‘I Won’t Back Down’.”
Other artists to feature on the album include Merle Haggard, Will Oldham and Cash’s wife June Carter Cash.
The full tracklisiting for ‘Solitary Man’ is: ‘I Won’t Back Down’ ‘Solitary Man’ ‘That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)’ ‘One’ ‘Nobody’ ‘I See A Darkness’ ‘The Mercy Seat’ ‘Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)’ ‘Field Of Diamonds’ ‘Before My Time’ ‘Country Trash’ ‘Mary Of The Wild Moor’ I’m Leavin’ Now’ ‘Wayfaring Stranger’