Reviewed by Carol Kurtz
"...truly a spiritual and musical experience you won't want to miss."
Part of being a Johnny Cash fan is loving his family, as he is inexorably intertwined with it. But Joanne Cash deserves fans of her own. In this, her twenty-eighth recording project, Joanne tells her story of faith, family, triumphs, and tribulations. But faith in her Savior is the sustaining note throughout. “I don’t think we have much time left before Christ comes again, and I want to be everything I can be for Jesus,” Joanne says. “I’ve seen so many people try and build their kingdom in music, but I don’t worry about any of that earthly gain. When you let God do it, that’s when the real effectiveness happens.”
A true Gospel record, as its name implies, Joanne has the perfect voice (like a younger Dottie Rambo) for old favorites like “It is Well with My Soul” and “I’ve God Jesus” (featuring Bill Nash). She also treats us to home spun songs that tell us stories of the Cash family’s history and heritage. In “Glory, Glory” she sings about her childhood and her brother Jack, and we can feel that it’s a happy memory. The song is cheerful, crisp and clear, the way country used to be. The picking, the slides, and the upbeat rhythm in many of the songs will have you tapping your feet and smiling. You get that Joanne is the product of a family rich in faith and love, making her what she is today.
Johnny Cash may have gone on to heaven, but he makes a few appearances in Gospel. “Meet Me in Heaven” (a poignant title, considering the fact that Johnny is already there) begins with an older Johnny Cash telling the story of the joyful passing of their father. He talks casually in “When He Comes” about his experience visiting Jerusalem. When the two siblings sing together, we almost feel like God has let Johnny come back for a brief visit. Their voices mingle and blend like two similar instruments.
But the crowning jewel of the cd is the bluegrass favorite “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. No matter how many versions of this you’ve heard, this one shines. Every bit as good as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s collaboration from the 70's (sung by Johnny Cash’s mother-in-law, Mother Maybelle Carter), this Cash has the tone of voice this classic needs. As if they were made for each other.
There’s a worshipful feel to a few of the cuts, rounding out the album with reverence. It’s unfortunate the band behind her isn’t given credit, because they are as talented as she. Joanne Cash Gospel is truly a spiritual and musical experience you won’t want to miss.
Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.