Dave Matthews is about to walk the line with Johnny Cash.
Next week Matthews will add his vocal tracks to "For You," a collaboration
with Cash for the film "We Were Soldiers." The country veteran recorded
guitar and vocals for the song Sunday at his plantation studio in the
Caribbean. His manager Lou Robin described the tune as a dark
alternative/country song in the vein of material from Cash's last recording,
American III: Solitary Man.
Matthews is a longtime Cash fan, and has covered "Long Black Veil" in
concert. The two met in August '99 in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom,
the location for the TNT special "An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Cash."
Matthews, one of the many performers, played "Long Black Veil" with Emmylou Harris
Producer Ken Levitan, who is assembling the "We Were Soldiers" soundtrack
for Sony, came up with the idea of Cash and Matthews working together, and
both artists jumped at the opportunity. If they're still as excited after
the song is done, they may work on more projects in the future, Robin said.
"We Were Soldiers," which stars Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Sam Elliott and
Greg Kinnear, is due in theaters in March.
Cash is currently working on his fourth album for American, tentatively
titled American IV and being produced by Rick Rubin. He's already completed 10 songs, and hopes to be finished by spring. The album's progress has been delayed by Cash's recurrent bouts with bronchitis, which have required hospitalization (see "Johnny Cash Released From Hospital"). The performer suffers from a condition called autonomic neuropathy, making him susceptible to pneumonia and other bronchial
On February 26, Cash will turn 70. In commemoration, on February 12 Legacy
will release the two-CD career retrospective The Essential Johnny Cash. The
36-song collection features cuts from Cash's years on Sun, Columbia and
Mercury Records and includes such classics as "I Walk the Line," "Ring of
Fire" and "Don't' Take Your Guns to Town." The anthology also features duets
with U2 ("The Wanderer") and Bob Dylan ("Girl From the North Country"). On
March 20, Legacy will release expanded versions of five classic Cash albums
previously unavailable on CD in America: The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1958),
Hymns by Johnny Cash (1959), Ride This Train (1960), Orange Blossom Special (1965) and Carryin' on With Johnny Cash and June Carter (1967).
The Dave Matthews Band is currently working on the follow-up to its 2001
album, Everyday, which the group plans to release later this year (see "Dave
Matthews Band Eyeing Next LP, Revisiting 'Lillywhite Sessions' ").