Listen: Johnny Cash’s Iconic Songs Take on New Life in Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Collaboration

by Madison Miller
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Around this time in 1958, Johnny Cash released one of his first studio albums “The Fabulous Johnny Cash.” The album came out in early November with hit songs like “I Still Miss Someone.”

Now 62 years later, we’re getting to hear Cash live once again through Royal Philharmonic Orchestra collaboration. The collaboration is breathing fresh, modern air into the beloved work of one of the most influential artists.

Revisiting the Songs of a Legend

Through a renewed sound it feels like Cash’s deep bass-baritone voice and his vortex of country, rock and folk all pleasantly spun into hit after hit is back with extra force.

In 2003, the “Ring of Fire” artist passed away at 71. His death left many people desperate to find the words to express just the kind of magnitude and allure a man like Johnny Cash had on the music industry and life in general.

The kind of originality that Cash radiated has been difficult to replicate.

His obituary in the Tennessean said, “In Hendersonville, he was a neighbor. For Nashville, he was an ambassador, an agitator, a kingpin and a musical conscience. To the world, he was a political activist, a genre-blending innovator and the embodiment of well-aged cool.”

The track list for the album includes 12 songs. Some of which are songs that featured other key artists like Bob Dylan in “Girl From The North Country” and June Carter Cash in “The Loving Gift” as well as The Highwaymen in “Highwayman.”

The latest collaboration was between Sony Music catalog division and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The group is famous for recording records in a new setting. While Cash’s original recordings were more than just hits, they were classics.

Cash and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

According to Best Classic Bands, the hit song “Highwayman” from 1985 was No.1 for 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It eventually earned songwriter Jimmy Webb a Grammy.

“I love that original recording … but as an arranger myself, I often wondered what it might sound like if Johnny Cash and his three bandmates had an orchestra and lush strings behind them. Don Reedman put an end to my wondering: They sound spectacular with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra behind them. The production is exquisite and provides yet another life for this song that still goes ’round and ’round,” said Webb regarding the new recording.

Beyond the fact that with your eyes closed Cash’s deep, rhythmic voice could almost sound like the resonating echo of a herd of horns, cellos and strings. Cash and an orchestra background is something even he would have loved to hear.

“I remember when my father introduced me to the RPO. I was around ten years old and he and I went to see three films from the James Bond saga at a festival in New York. When the theme for Goldfinger began, he leaned over to me. ‘That’s the finest orchestra in the world, son, he said. ‘That’s the Royal Philharmonic.’…. He knew the music of the RPO. He respected them all throughout his life…. I know my father would be enormously excited to see this new album become a reality,” John Carter Cash writes in the album notes.

Through collaborations like the one done by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cash’s legacy continues to “still burns, burns, burns bright.”

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