Marty Stuart brings the words of Johnny Cash back to life in “I’ll Be Around,” a track the legend wrote but never got around to recording.
Part of the expanded edition of the Johnny Cash: Forever Words album, the track tough-as-nails lyrics and a country thump to match, with Stuart imitating Cash’s signature vocal. All about a guy who’s been there and done that, and can’t be held down, it’s classic Cash at his Man In Black best, and Stuart — one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame — says he was instantly drawn to the previously unrecorded song. After being given the raw lyrics, he created the song’s melody in the style he figured Cash would have used.
“I dearly love ‘I’ve Been Around,’ Stuart says. ‘The song and video are both filled with that unexplainable charisma that John R Cash specialized in. He was such a great writer. A true poet at heart. It’s hard to believe that he never got around to recording this song. The words are cinematic, timeless, classic JR. When John Carter Cash first presented me with the raw lyrics the music seemed to dance off the page. I instantly heard the sound of Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three in my mind. They were the north star band of my musical youth; in reality, they still are. They were my Beatles. I wanted the spirit of that group and the essence of that sound to follow me to that microphone. At the time the song was recorded the Tennessee Three’s drummer, WS (Fluke) Holland, was the last band member standing. He played on the session and brought that classic sound with him to the studio. Fluke since passed away. ‘I’ve Been Around’ was to be his last recording and I will forever treasure it. The old line in Nashville is: It all begins with a song. And once again, Johnny Cash knocks one out of the park from 10 million miles away.”
The track’s video directed by Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, features footage of Cash and Stuart.
Along with Marty Stuart, the expanded Johnny Cash: Forever Words project features the original album plus 18 new tracks from the likes of Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Kacey Musgraves, Jamey Johnson, Brad Paisley and more — 16 of which have never been released before. They were all created using lyrics Cash wrote, and were found languishing in notebooks after his 2003 passing.