Sheryl Crow & Johnny Cash in 1995
Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images
Sheryl Crow Releases "Redemption Day," A Duet Featuring The Voice Of Johnny Cash
GRAMMY winner Sheryl Crow has released the lead single for her 11th studio album. The social justice-focused song (and video) "Redemption Day" posthumously features the late GRAMMY-winning country icon Johnny Cash.
The song, which Crow originally wrote after a trip to war-torn Bosnia and recorded for her GRAMMY-winning 1996 self-titled album, was dropped with a moving, jarring visual. The music video, directed by Shaun Silva, is centered on a young girl watching scenes from our history play out before her, many of them tragic, of environmental destruction and war across the globe. Despite the tough topics tackled in the song—that really still ring true 23 years later—there is a message, of hope, of redemption.
In 2003, the same year Cash passed away, he was introduced to Crow's 1996 song by a son-in-law, a press release explains, which led the pair to meet and discuss the song. He recorded his version of the song and wanted to release it on his next album, but, due to his passing, it wasn't released until 2010 on the posthumous American VI: Ain't No Grave.
After performing the song on tour in 2014 with Cash's vocals, she asked his estate about rerecording the song along with his vocals. Now, in 2019, the song gets new life as a powerful, poignant duet between the pair.
"I believe Johnny Cash believed there is a train that we all get on at the end of life and what you do with your life before you get on that train matters. So to hear him sing 'There is a train that's headed straight for heaven's gate. Every woman, man and child is waiting,' means to me that what you say and how you treat each other matters every day until you reach that gate. Johnny is the man to have singing that," Crow told the Recording Academy in an email.
"Johnny stood up for what he believed in at a time when what he believed wasn't so popular. I mean he got all up in the middle of things that he believed in. And I feel like he would be standing up now, probably in his own way through his music," she added. "One of the things that's deeply profound for me by having Johnny sing on 'Redemption Day' is that I have small children and everyday I'm trying to teach my kids that it matters what the truth is and it matters that you stand up for what you believe in."
The album is due out in "late summer," according to the press release, and will also feature an amazingly diverse and stacked list of collaborators, including Keith Richards, Stevie Nicks and St. Vincent. During an interview last summer, Crow said the forthcoming LP would be her "last full album."