Johnny Cash's legendary discography stretches far and wide, but it turns out there's still music from the country icon that the world has never heard. Out Among the Stars is a 12-track album that Cash recorded between 1981 and 1984 with producer Billy Sherill. Sherill, who himself is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was president of CBS Records Nashville when he was paired with Cash. More importantly, he was a huge advocate of the "countrypolitan" style that peppered pop elements into country music to make the genre more digestible for a mainstream audience.
A hidden gem from Cash's archives
Speaking to the Associated Press, John Carter Cash said, "It was the 'Urban Cowboy' phase. It was pop country, and dad was not that." Cash and archivists at Legacy Recordings first came upon the Out Among the Stars tapes last year. The recordings are just the latest treasure to come from a massive personal archive that Johnny Cash and wife June Carter Cash pieced together throughout their careers. Among the highlights of Out Among the Stars: a duet with Waylon Jennings and two featuring June Carter Cash.
"We were so excited when we discovered this," said the younger Cash. "We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard. Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He's pitch perfect. It's seldom where there's more than one vocal take. They're a live take and they're perfect." But apparently that wasn't good enough for Columbia Records. Out Among the Stars was indefinitely shelved and Cash was dropped from the label in 1986. But his career would of course go on, and Cash is now regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Out Among the Stars will be released on March 25th, and pre-orders are already available.