It seems inconceivable now, but there was a low time in the 1980s when Columbia Records rejected an entire album’s worth of Johnny Cash’s work.
Scrapped recordings from two sessions were tossed onto a dusty shelf and forgotten until just this March when Out Among the Stars debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart, 11 years after Cash’s death. The tracks were originally produced by Billy Sherrill, the famed maestro of the countrypolitan sound, and freshened up by Cash’s son, John Carter Cash.
The collection’s title track has now been paired with an animated video which deftly evokes the timeless nature of Cash’s story about a man at the end of his rope. As his tale unfolds, the image of a loner under open skies is first seen atop a horse, then in a Model T Ford and finally cruising along in a pickup truck.
Cash’s voice is strong, and his grim sense of humor is in full view. And Sherrill’s production is lean, unhampered by the orchestration that defined his early work. It makes you wonder, what was Columbia looking for?
Enjoy this visual representation of Johnny Cash’s “Out Among the Stars.”