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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
This CD+DVD set documents an all-star tribute to Johnny Cash that was held in April 2012 in Austin, Texas. The lineup includes Cash's outlaw peers, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, and a lengthy list of No Depression favorites that includes Buddy Miller, Rhett Miller and the Carolina Chocolate Drops; the latter burn up their cover of "Jackson," with Rhiannon Giddens sawing her fiddle and channeling the sass of June Carter Cash at the same time. The nineteen tracks also include pairings of Kristofferson with Jamey Johnson, Nelson with Sheryl Crow, and Shooter Jennings with Amy Nelson. Nelson, Kristofferson, Jennings and Johnson band together to sing the Highwayman's "Highwayman," and the full ensemble gathers to close the show with "I Walk the Line."

The song list stretches from Cash's first single "Cry Cry Cry" (and its flip "Hey Porter") to his last, "Hurt," the latter sung pained, weary and a bit wandering by Lucinda Williams. The house backing band (led by Don Was and featuring Kenny Aronoff, Ian McLagen, Greg Leisz and perennial all-star Buddy Miller), draws continuity across the performances, and the live setting wrings terrific emotion and energy from the singers. Brandi Carlile may not have done jail time, but her growls and blue yodels hit the notes of anger, desperation and resignation Cash wrote into "Folsom Prison Blues." Shelby Lynne sings "Why Me Lord" with arresting gospel fervor, and Iron & Wine's "The Long Black Veil" is both sad and stalwart.

The 64-minute CD omits the stage patter (including that of stage host Matthew McConaughey) presented on the 77-minute DVD, and reorders the set list. The widescreen, multi-camera video (with either stereo or Dolby 5.1 audio) adds dimension to the performances, as you see the emotion the vocalists put into their performances and the distinction with which the instrumentalists pull together as a band. Drummer Kenny Aranoff plays with joy and freedom on "Get Rhythm," Don Was sways blissfully with his bass as he watches Buddy Miller solo, and McGlagen's fingers fly across the piano keys for "Wreck of the Old 97." The DVD extras include Willie Nelson rehearsing "I Still Miss Someone," McConaughey performing "The Man Comes Around," artist interviews and a short making-of video. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2012 Hyperbolium]
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2012
We sometimes forget that before he was a country star, Johnny Cash was a Sun Records rocker. This tribute album really
rocks out! Brandi Carlile's opening rendition of Folsom River Blues is worth the price of the CD / DVD package all by itself
but it is just the beginning of a wonderful collection. Buddy Miller and Shelby Lynne also knock it out of the park.
This is a must not only for Johnny Cash fans but every rockabilly enthusiast. Frank Warman
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I don't know. There's something about a group of artists doing a tribute CD to the likes of Johnny Cash that seems like a fragile proposition. On the one hand, we have the power of of Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Brandi Carlisle and others. On the other hand, this is Johnny Cash we're talking about, and you just don't want the songs tossed freely around.

This CD includes some of Cash's popular songs; 'Folsom Prison Blues;' 'Get Rhythm;' 'Cry, cry, cry;' and 'Ring of Fire,' as well as less popular songs such as 'I Still Miss Someone;' 'Big River;' and 'Hurt.'

Each of the artists does a good job with the song they perform, but keep in mind that these are performed live. Thus, the smooth, blues-style sound we're used to with Cash doesn't come through. The tempo is pretty upbeat on most of these songs, and even though we have a great collection of artists here, it just doesn't have the rasp, power, and oooomph we're used to when we hear a Johnny Cash song. I don't know if they still play songs on the radio or not, but you're not likely to hear most of these songs--as performed on this CD--on the air. Why do it, when 'real' Cash could be played instead?

I like the CD and I wouldn't discourage you from buying it. Keep in mind, however, that some tribute albums--be it Cash, Elvis, the Beatles, etc--don't always translate well. I'm glad I bought it and I enjoy most of the songs/performances. But make sure you have pure 'Cash' to listen to as well, not just this CD.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2012
Wow. Really?! What can you possibly say about something like this? It starts out on a positive note with Brandi Carlile performing Folsom Prison Blues. The only other performance that was worth hearing was The Long Black Veil performed by Iron & Wine. Ronnie Dunn made some attempt to maintain the integrity of Ring of Fire. Otherwise, I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Most of the artists didn't know the words to the songs they were singing and had to read them off of a teleprompter. Matthew McConaughey's attempted performance of The Man Comes Around (bonus feature) was incredibly disrespectful both to the lyrics and to Johnny Cash himself.

I appreciate the fact that there are artists (and music lovers) of all genres that love Johnny Cash's music and the bonus feature of artist interviews made me feel that the younger artists did at least know who he was (though you couldn't tell it from their performances) but, overall, I was very disappointed with the DVD.

I think it's great for young artists to keep the music alive and, even to make it their own, but if your intent is to pay tribute to someone's music, at least do it with respect for the original artist. This DVD won't stay in my collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2012
I loved Johnny Cash and his music, but when someone else sings his songs, it just isn't the same. I didn't think the quality of the recordings was up to par either.
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on March 10, 2014
to honor a great entertainer. Everyone here puts their whole heart into their performance. The Carolina Chocolate Drop's rendition of "Jackson" is awesome. There are parts where you'll tear up and always, always you'll be singing along.
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on November 24, 2012
I bought this because of the tribute to Johnny and some of the artists asked to perform. Man, I would have loved to be there in Austin for this performance. I think it is a nice tribute set. The DVD is well done as well.
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on July 18, 2014
a celebration it is for sure, I have enjoyed this cd a lot, it is great to hear other performers cover songs that you love.
It opens you to musicians that you may have never heard or appreciated.
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on June 27, 2013
The talent is stunning - with each and every song and with each and every performer. I watch the DVD and listen to the music often. Johnny is smiling.
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on December 12, 2012
This was offered on PBS as a gift for a $100.00 Donation. Would have loved to been able to donate that but I could afford the CD. WOW
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