Liner Notes from producer Chad Randall Crow

With these liner notes I would like everyone to share in my excitement. Working on this project was undoubtedly the most fun I have ever had in my life. Joanne had told me a number of times that one of her goals was to record an album of duets.  Finally one day I said that I was going to put Pro-Tools on my laptop, hook up my studio microphone, and we were going to record her duets album.  This entire album was recorded and mixed on my Macbook Pro. 

Here are just some of the things I loved about working on this album.  I asked her who she would like to record with, and she mentioned names like Larry Gatlin, T. Graham Brown, the Fox Brothers, Razzy Bailey and Rosanne Cash, some of my favorite artists.  I suggested Joanne sing THE GOOD EARTH with Larry Gatlin.  He wrote the song when he first arrived in Nashville, and Johnny Cash recorded it for his album Any Old Wind That Blows in 1972.  But Larry himself never recorded the song, and it became the perfect duet.  I loved the fact that Larry thought it was the coolest thing in the world that he was recording a song in his living room. 

 I loved the chance to be able to work with Ranger Doug from Riders In The Sky.  I used to watch the Riders Saturday morning TV show, and thought it was amazing. I set up my recording gear at his house, and all I was getting was static and what sounded like a radio station bleeding in.  I finally told him I didn’t know what was wrong, and that I had never heard anything like that before.  He got this look on his face like he suddenly realized something, and said “follow me.”  We went outside and he pointed up at the HUGE radio tower on the hill behind his house.  We both laughed and decided we needed to reschedule the session for a different location.

I also started thinking about how much fun it would be to pair Joanne up with some artists you wouldn’t expect to hear her singing with.  One of the first people I approached was John Schlitt from Petra, and I loved the fact that he enthusiastically said yes before I could even finish asking the question.  I was able to get backstage at a Jars of Clay concert, and got virtually the same reaction when I asked Dan Haseltine.  Rick Florian from White Heart is a buddy of mine, and I quite frankly didn’t ask him, but told him he was going to record THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE with Joanne.  He laughed and readily agreed.  Joanne and Rick also recorded another song together, a White Heart song, which will be coming out in the near future on Joanne’s next album of duets.  (No, we haven’t stopped recording, and have agreed that we aren’t going to.)

 There were some songs that Joanne specifically wanted to record, like GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN.  She also brought the final song written by her beloved brother Johnny Cash, MY LORD HAS GONE.  The only problem was that the song didn’t have a melody.  Johnny had written the lyrics and brought it to one of his final recording sessions at the Cash Cabin Studio in 2003.  Dave Ferguson, his engineer, asked if he wanted to record it, and Johnny told him he didn’t have a melody for it yet.  Then he left the handwritten lyrics with Dave.  Joanne took the unfinished song to Glenn Douglas Tubb, one of Johnny’s old friends and songwriting buddies from his Sun Records days in the 1950’s, and he added the incredible melody.  Then Joanne recruited her other famous brother, Tommy Cash, to sing it with her.  Pure history.  What great fun to be part of that.

 There were a few of Joanne’s favorite singers we attempted to get and didn’t.  In one instance in particular, the artist we didn’t get led to one I am SO glad we did get.  She and I went backstage to the Grand Ole Opry one Saturday night to specifically approach a certain artist to sing a song with her.  We were not able to get close enough to ask him.  However, that night Joanne ran into her good friend George Hamilton IV and asked him to record with her.  They recorded the Carter Family classic ON THE ROCK WHERE MOSES STOOD together, and it is absolute magic.  We didn’t know at the time it would be the final recording he would ever make.  What a blessing it was to work with him, and to listen to his stories of touring with people like Patsy Cline.  He will be missed.

When I was producing Joanne’s documentary I DO BELIEVE, I interviewed her good friend Kevin Max.  Joanne had sung with him on a song on his 2006 release The Blood, and they had performed together a few times as well.  He said in the documentary that he hoped to be able to work with her again, and also said Joanne “has huge potential to do projects within the industry that will kind of push boundaries, and people will be like ,oh wow, I wouldn’t expect that from Joanne.” That statement sort of became what I hoped to accomplish for Joanne with this album.  It became about breaking down musical barriers.  Thanks, Kevin, for the inspiration, and for the killer duet on the U2 song LOVE RESCUE ME. 

 A couple of quick little items of trivia for you regarding this CD cover: 

  • The flowered background under the page which contains Joanne’s special thanks is the original linoleum tile from the floor of the house in which she grew up in Dyess, Arkansas. 

  • The background photo under the page with the song credits is Joanne’s initials that she carved when she was just a child into the wood of the back porch of that same house in Dyess, Arkansas. 

 I hope you have as much fun listening to this album as I did producing it.  Deepest heartfelt thanks and love to Joanne and her wonderful husband Harry Yates.  You are both my heroes.  Special thanks to my amazing sons, Tony, Greg and Zack Crow.  All praise and thanks to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!!

                         - Chad Randall Crow

    The Good Earth - Joanne Cash & Larry Gatlin

    Breaking Down The Barriers

    April 2015                   Produced by Proverbial Excellence

    A very special project by Joanne Cash and produced by Proverbial Excellence. These sessions, often done in Joanne's home, pair Joanne with artists from all walks of life and genres. Each of these songs was hand-picked for this inspirational work. Like her brother's American Recordings sessions, these performances will stand the test of time.

    Get your copy of "Breaking Down The Barriers" in the Online Store!