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Of all the dozens of albums released by Johnny Cash during his nearly half-century career, 1964’s “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian” is among the closest to the artist s heart. A concept album focusing on the mistreatment and marginalization of the Native American people throughout the history of the United States, its eight songs among them “The Ballad of Ira Hayes,” a #3 hit single for Cash on the Billboard country chart spoke in frank and poetic language of the hardships and intolerance they endured.
Now, 50 years after it was recorded, a collective of top Americana artists has come together to re-imagine and update these songs that meant so much to Cash, who died in 2003. For “Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited,” creative leader and album producer Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville) realized that the “Bitter Tears” album held a special place in Cash’s canon, and that in many ways the issues it raised still resonate today. This had to be apparent in the new versions he was recording for “Look Again to the Wind.” The album features American music giants Kris Kirstofferson, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Bill Miller, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and Norman Blake (the guitarist and only surviving member from the original recording sessions) as well as up-and-comers The Milk Carton Kids and Rhiannon Giddens, interpreting the music of “Bitter Tears” for a new generation. As the original album was for Cash, this new collection is a labor of love with a strong sense of purpose fueling its creation. The album was recorded in Los Angeles, Nashville and at Johnny Cash’s personal recording studio, Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, TN.
01. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – As Long As The Grass Shall Grow
02. Emmylou Harris & The Milk Carton Kids – Apache Tears
03. Steve Earle & The Milk Carton Kids – Custer
04. Nancy Blake, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch & The Milk Carton Kids – The Talking Leaves
05. Kris Kristofferson, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – The Ballad Of Ira Hayes
06. Norman Blake, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Nancy Blake & Emmylou Harris – Drums
07. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – Apache Tears (Reprise)
08. The Milk Carton Kids – White Girl
09. Rhiannon Giddens, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – The Vanishing Race
10. Gillian Welch, Nancy Blake & David Rawlings – As Long As The Grass Shall Grow (Reprise)
11. Bill Miller – Look Again To The Wind