Musicians and engaged couple Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly took the stage at Tennessee’s idyllic Blackberry Farm recently, performing a sweetly pastoral new tune they wrote, with lyrics based on a 1970 poem penned by Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash. “To June, This Morning” offers a husband’s reflections of the couple’s routine as they wake to face the day at home, a quiet portrait in stark contrast to the globetrotting lives they experienced simultaneously as two of the most in-demand entertainers at the time.
The Musgraves-Kelly duet will be among the tracks on the upcoming album, Johnny Cash Forever Words: The Music, which collects more of Cash’s poetry set to music. Last November, an accompanying book, Forever Words: The Unknown Poems, collected 41 of Cash’s poetic works. At that time, the couple’s son, producer John Carter Cash, that he had already recorded tracks for the upcoming LP featuring Jamey Johnson, Brad Paisley, Jewel, T Bone Burnett, bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent, and Chris Cornell, the Soundgarden singer who has since passed away.
“My father was a very prolific writer and he left behind a huge body of unpublished work,” said Cash. “Out of about 200 or so pieces, there were around 50 finished poems that were really cohesive, powerful and beautiful… When I read these poems, it’s as if my father is speaking to me again.”
A release date for Johnny Cash Forever Words: The Music has yet to be announced.