Joanne Cash, the sister of the late country music legend Johnny Cash, will release her latest album, Breaking Down the Barriers, on April 1st. The star-studded duets album will feature artists of rock, country, pop and Gospel genres singing Gospel songs with Cash.
Breaking Down the Barriers features 14 duets that are firmly planted in Gospel. Fans of the Cash family will be thrilled to find duet's with Rosanne Cash and Tommy Cash, in addition to contributions from iconic country artists Larry Gatlin, T. Graham Brown, The Fox Brothers, Razzy Bailey, George Hamilton IV and Riders in the Sky's Ranger Doug and Christian rockers Kevin Max (dcTalk, Audio Adrenaline), Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay), Rick Florian (Whiteheart) and John Schlitt (Petra).
Country music fans will take particular interest in two tracks on the new album, due to their historical significance. The lyrics for the Tommy Cash duet, "My Lord Has Gone," were written by Joanne and Tommy's brother Johnny Cash, who passed away before he had the chance to record it. On the song "On The Rock Where Moses Stood," Joanne duets with legendary country artist George Hamilton IV, in what turned out to be his final recording. Hamilton died unexpectedly in September.
Hallels: So grateful Joanne for this opportunity. Growing up as the sister of the late and great Johnny Cash, what's your favorite memory of him?
Growing up with Johnny was like you growing up with your brother. He wasn't famous back then. We listened to Gospel and Country music daily when we weren't working in the cotton fields. There were so many favorite times with him., its hard to pick out one. Going to church together, working together, making Coco fudge with peanuts in it (that we grew) . I guess if I had to pick one, it would be singing around Mamas old upright piano every night after supper. She would play and we'd sing gospel songs for an hour or so. That was where my desire to sing began.
Hallels: On your brand new album you have a song you co-wrote with Johnny entitled "My Lord Has Gone." When did the two of you write this song together? Tell us more about this songwriting session you had with Johnny Cash?
Actually, I didn't have anything to do with writing this song. Johnny wrote the lyrics for "My Lord has Gone" and brought them to one of his final recording sessions. He didn't have a melody for the song, so he left the lyrics with his engineer and I'm sure he intended to put music to them. We asked Glenn D. Tubb, who has written with Johnny many times before, to write the music.
Hallels: On "The Rock Where Moses Stood" you sang with legendary country artist George Hamilton IV. I believe those were his last sessions before his death. Tell us more about what they were like?
George was a friend for many years. We have toured together, and I recorded a song with him on one of his albums a few years back. I was so happy he agreed to sing a song with me on my album. We had no way of knowing it would be his last. He loved the song, and so the recording session only took about an hour. But afterwards George stayed and told my producer, Chad Crow, all kinds of great stories about touring with people like Patsy Cline and the Everly Brothers. Chad has mentioned to me more than once how much he enjoyed that.
Hallels: On the new album you have quite a diverse range of duet partners from many genres from Christian rock to country to Southern Gospel, why did you envision a duets album?
I have wanted to do a duet album for a long time. At first I thought I would just ask a few friends to sing with me.
Hallels: How did you pick your duet partners?
I asked some of my friends, T. Graham Brown, George Hamilton IV, Razzy Bailey, Larry Gatlin, Kevin Max and The Fox Brothers, as well as my brother Tommy and my niece Rosanne. My producer got in touch with the others and they all said yes. I honestly didn't expect that we would be able to find duet partners from so many genres of music. And I was so humbled they agreed to sing with me.
Hallels: On your website, you said that singing to you is therapy. How have these songs helped you in your walk with the Lord? And is there a song on the record that helped you most pointedly?
Gospel songs have a message from the Bible, The songs we picked are messages from God to us.. "My Lord has Gone" is a message that we must be ready when Jesus comes back to this earth to take us home. I really like "God's gonna cut you Down", same message.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase your new album and/or find out more about you, where can they go?
My website is www.joannecash.com
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