"Dad's advice was always: follow your heart." A new Johnny Cash album of previously unreleased songs is coming later this year, powered by his son, John Carter Cash

Johnny Cash with his guitar in 1974
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new Johnny Cash album featuring never-before-heard songs will be released later this year, it has been announced. The album, titled Songwriter, will be entirely composed of tracks penned by the country icon during a spell in 1993 when Cash was between recording contracts and holed up in LSI Studios in Nashville. 

Discovered by Cash's son, John Carter Cash, and brought back to life with the help of producer David “Fergie” Ferguson and some of Cash's former collaborators including guitarist Marty Stuart, bassist Dave Roe (who passed away last year) and drummer Pete Abbotts, the songs represent a unique and previously uncelebrated chapter of Cash's storied career. 

“Dad’s advice with anything, whether it was life or making music, was always ‘follow your heart,” says John Carter Cash of the collection. “Nobody plays Cash better than Marty Stuart, and Dave Roe of course played with dad for many years. The musicians that came in were just tracking with dad, you 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.

 “I wanted it to be songs that mostly people hadn't heard and that paid close attention to who he was as a songwriter and who he was as an American voice,” he adds. “One of my most important focuses in the past 10 years is to make sure that history, as best that I can possibly, is to give history the opportunity to notice him as the great writer he is. Bob Dylan says he's one of the greatest writers of all of American written music and I agree. I want to put that in the forefront. His writing voice specifically is a certain voice, that I think if America wants to know their history, that's a good place to look. Johnny Cash is definitely one true voice that we can listen to, specifically to his writings.”

“He was always my hero and I just felt like the luckiest guy in the world to get to record him,” adds Ferguson. "I would think Johnny would say what he said about every record that I worked on with him, every record I think he ever made, when he got to the end of it, he always said, 'I think it's the best record I’ve ever made.' You could count on that. I could just hear him say that. I think he'd be really proud of it.”

Songwriter will land on June 28 via Mercury Nashville/UMe. You can pre-order the album here, and you can listen to the first single from the collection, Well Alright, below.

Johnny Cash Songwriter tracklist

1. Hello Out There

2. Spotlight

3. Drive On

4. I Love You Tonite

5. Have You Ever Been to Little Rock?

6. Well Alright

7. She Sang Sweet Baby James

8. Poor Valley Girl

9. Soldier Boy

10.Sing It Pretty Sue

11. Like A Soldier

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.