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Beautiful and moving

Joanne Cash - Gospel
(Acme Music Group)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Mar. 27, 2007
Joanne Cash

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Throughout the past three decades, acclaimed country/roots/gospel artist Joanne Cash released a string of 27 recordings, penned her self-esteem affirming autobiography My Fears Are Gone, worked at the historic House of Cash and collaborated on numerous occasions with her brother, Johnny Cash. Her latest album features a collection of fan favorites and concert regulars throughout the years, including original tunes, covers of spiritual standards (akin to Johnny's recent My Mother's Hymn Book) and cuts with her late, great sibling.

In terms of those tag teams, Joanne and Johnny duet on a strikingly beautiful rendition of "Softly and Tenderly," which was one of the last tracks they recorded together shortly before his untimely death. "Meet Me In Heaven" is also incredibly moving, starting with an explanation by Johnny about their father singing out to God on his deathbed before developing into a hopeful duet on the other side. The Man in Black also leads off "When He Comes" with a spoken word introduction, followed by the pair's soothing, earthy twang and complimentary voices.

Traces of the family's upbringing can be found on the joyous "Glory, Glory," including their time together picking cotton and singing spirituals. The cheerful "Cotton, Popcorn, Peanuts & Jesus" further showcases the four elements on which the Cash children were raised, while the lovely "Lower Lights" was often sung around the home piano. Yet the singer also turns in an exceptionally passionate version of "It Is Well With My Soul," during which her southern appeal merges with a series of steel and slide guitars to cap off a stirring experience.

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