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Various Artists
Anchored In Love: A Tribute To June Carter Cash
Dualtone Music Group
www.dualtone.com


There is an undeniable influence that June Carter Cash had on the musical world, and this influence was not limited simply to the country music side of the industry. She was well loved by country and roots artists, not only for her work as part of the Carter Family - one of the most important Appalachian folk groups of all time - but also as the gentle and strong pillar behind Johnny Cash and the excellent ambassador she was for the entire music community. Rock and roll artists owe her a great debt as well, for where would we be without such great songs like "Ring Of Fire"? She was a stalwart of faith, creativity and professionalism in a very unprofessional and reckless industry and her influence was felt by all those around her, as well as those that have come since.

Anchored In Love is a beautiful collection of songs, some written by June herself, others made famous by her singing as a solo artist or as a member of the inimitable Carter Family. Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow start the album off with a sweet and rolling version of "If I Were A Carpenter", mid-tempo and beautiful this song stands as a fitting tribute to the work of Johnny and June. June's daughter Carlene Carter and Ronnie Dunn turn in a rocking, twanging version of the ultimate Johnny/June duet "Jackson". Carlene's voice is tough and growly like her mothers while Ronnie turns in a fine performance on vocals and guitar. June's old friend Loretta Lynn pays tribute with a telling of the beautiful "Wildwood Flower" that was made famous by the Carter Family. Loretta's voice is as rich and wonderful as ever, and the hillbilly music that accompanies is simply perfect. Brad Paisley kicks out a wonderful acoustic version of "Keep On The Sunny Side" filled with mandolin, fiddle and guitar… further proving his standing as one of the few new guard country artists that hold true to the ideals of real country music.

Roseanne Cash chimes in with a hauntingly beautiful version of "Wings Of Angels", remembering her adopted mother in the same spirit in which she paid homage to her father on her most recent record. Stalwart of the rock scene Elvis Costello turns in a slow, beautiful and alarmingly tender version of "Ring Of Fire" and Billy Joe Shaver sings "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea" with his characteristic strength and depth. Ralph Stanley does a charming version of the must-include "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", filled with requisite banjo and candor, before Emmylou Harris performs a slow and heartwarming version of the wonderful "Song To John". Perhaps nothing sums up the life of June Carter Cash as well as this final track that sends shivers down my spine listening to Emmylou Harris recite June's prayers, words that prove that above all else she loved nothing more than she loved Johnny. Also appearing on the record are an exquisite duet by Patty Loveless and Kris Kristofferson, an ensemble of Billy Bob Thornton and the Peasall Sisters, and a wonderful version of "Big Yellow Peaches" performed by Grey Delisle.

The release of Anchored In Love is in tandem with the release of a book by the same name that celebrates in written word what this record celebrates in song. The world owes a huge debt to the life of June Carter Cash. The artists represented here do a fine job of conveying the depth of that gratitude and celebrating the musical career of one of the finest women to ever grace the planet. This album is a truly fine testament to the life and influence of June Carter Cash and a peak into not only June's career but the esteem in which the music community holds her still.

-Embo Blake


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