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Loving tribute to an
undersung country legend

Various Artists - Anchored in Love: A Tribute To June Carter Cash
31/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 31, 2007
June Carter Cash

Review by Tony Bonyata

Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, were, and still are, seminal figures in the history of country music - from both their own deep musical heritages and the immense legacies they left behind before their passing in 2003. While much has been written and recorded on Johnny throughout the last half century, June's story isn't nearly as well documented.

The Cash's only son, John Carter Cash, is about to change that, however, with the first biography on his mother entitled "Anchored In Love: An Intimate Portrait Of June Carter Cash," a long overdue book that chronicles June's childhood touring with the Carter Family, her early marriages, the rocky road of the music business and her lasting romance with Johnny. Coinciding with the release of this biography is a compilation CD, also titled Anchored in Love, that features a wealth of various artists covering songs that encompass June's entire career.

The album is brimming with talent - from June's daughter Carlene and Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn) delivering a rousing version of "Jackson" and Elvis Costello's decidedly introspective and earthy take on the June-penned classic "Ring of Fire," to the strong duet from Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson on the album's proud opener "If I Were A Carpenter."

Going even deeper than the compositions either written or made famous by June, the album tips its hat to her own rich country-music lineage (her mother Maybelle Carter being one of the founding members of the early country music group The Carter Family, whose recordings made between 1927 and 1943 would go onto help shape not only the direction of country music, but also bluegrass, gospel and even rock & roll). Three Carter Family numbers, all originally penned by June's uncle A.P. Carter, are featured on this compilation and are given new life through interpretations from Loretta Lynn ("Wildwood Flower"), Brad Paisley ("Keep On The Sunny Side") and bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley ("Will The Circle Be Unbroken").

Perhaps the best summation of this album, however, is Emmylou Harris' moving rendition of "Song To John," a touching tribute of everlasting love and faith to June Carter Cash's true soul mate. And after listening to this moving number there's little doubt that Johnny and June aren't together on the other side at this very moment.

Watch Johnny Cash & June Carter -
"If I Were a Carpenter" 1976

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