Johnny Cash Handwritten Lyrics of ‘Forever Words’ Give Glimpse into the Late-Country Star’s Writing Process

by Halle Ames
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They say smarter people have more ideas running through their heads, so their handwriting is messier. While this may not always be the case, take a look at Johnny Cash’s handwritten notes of lyrics to understand the star’s writing process better.

The beloved late country music star’s estate shared a post on social media of the messy notes Johnny Cash used to write.

We can picture it now. So much genius is pouring from the artist’s brain that the poor pencil cannot keep up with the frantic writing.

However, these amazing notes would help fuel a beautiful tribute project later down the road.

Johnny Cash: Forever Words

In the last four months of Johnny Cash‘s life, the star amazingly recorded 60 songs. After he died in 2003 at the age of 71, there were still pieces of Cash’s that were not complete. That is where the idea behind “Forever Words” came about.

John Carter Cash wanted to share these songs with the world, so he enlisted the help of the biggest names in country music to carry on his father’s legacy.

“Our father was quite a prolific writer, and all through his life, he wrote poetry. A great investment of writing, of course, was left over when he passed on. There seemed to be a beauty within these writings, and it became a focus to put some of these writings to music. He has such a diverse creativity. He wrote dirges, broken-hearted ballads, triumphant love songs. All of these things were part of who he was.

The video shows notable names such as Willie Nelson, Kacey Musgraves, and Brad Paisley, who record various songs by Cash.

Steve Berkowitz, the co-producer of “Johnny Cash: Forever Words,” explains how the book turned into an album.

“John Carter and I got together, and the idea of the book happened, and the book was procured last year. Along the way, we said, ‘boy, can’t you hear such and such sing this,’ and obviously the idea for the record and the “Forever Words” music album was birthed.”

Brad Paisley records Johnny Cash’s song, “Gold All Over the Ground.” The country artist shares his gratitude for being selected for the project.

“I was lucky enough and blessed enough that my friend here, John Carter Cash, has decided to his father’s unfinished works find a place in the world.”

Johnny Cash’s daughter, Rosanne, expressed her joy for how the album turned out. She says it felt like Cash was there throughout the process.

“I really tried to feel what he would have thought about it, and you know, it felt like a collaboration. I think he’d be proud of it, I am.”

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