The late Seattle rock legend set Cash's words to music for an upcoming tribute album.
Immediately after Chris Cornell’s death last year, his then newly released “The Promise” felt like his heart-wrenching swan song. But a month later, word slipped that the Seattle icon had another project in the bag besides the Grammy-nominated tune.
Cornell recorded a track for an upcoming Johnny Cash tribute album that features a roster of heavyweight musicians setting music to the outlaw country king’s poems and unrecorded lyrics. The album, titled “Johnny Cash: Forever Words,” is due April 6, but on Monday, Cornell’s track — an appropriately brooding interpretation of Cash’s “You Never Knew My Mind” — was released.
According to Cash’s son John Carter Cash, in a Beats 1 radio interview, the Man in Black likely wrote the falling-out-of-love poem for his first wife, Vivian. For the song, Cornell stitched together its words with Cash’s accompanying poem, “I Never Knew Your Mind.” The Soundgarden frontman discussed the song in a video shot at Cash Cabin Studio, where it was recorded.
“I thought it was brilliant that he would actually bother writing a song in its entirety from his own perspective and then to the perspective of the person he’s actually writing about — like seeing both sides of it and going to the trouble of actually writing it out that way,” Cornell said in the video.
Cornell went on to cite Cash as a major influence, especially after the country legend recorded a Grammy-nominated cover of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage.”
Besides Cornell, the tribute album features Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Kacey Musgraves and a collaboration from Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.
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