We Must Believe In Magic
John Carter Cash
2017 - Cash Cabin Enterprises, LLC. When I come across an album by John Carter Cash, I often think about how all of the children of well-known country music entertainers turned out. Some children are grounded, due to their parents and or grandparents nurturing. While others tend to turn to alcohol and drugs; perhaps imitating their parent’s own actions. John Carter Cash operates as country music royalty while in the Nashville crowd. The entertainers who grew up in and around Johnny Cash and June Carter, will proudly support and defend John Carter’s career; all the while placing him high upon the country music throne. Those entertainers who know about June and Johnny will beseech John Carter only to add his name to their ever-growing résumé. Nonetheless, outside of Nashville and in reality he is nothing more than a sideshow circus act. John Carter lacks the discipline and sensitivity needed to create a song worthy of one’s attention. Perhaps this is due to everyone’s high expectations of him. I find that John Carter’s music does not have any direction. In one song, he captures the essence of his mother while in another he emulates his father’s style; thus creating a hodgepodge collection of disarranged music. He also loves to collect previously released songs and create less than optimal covers of these songs. This album is a testimony to both statements. The album opens with the title cut, which was originally recorded by Crystal Gayle in 1977 and then covered by Johnny Cash in 1982. The album continues with “Feel Like Going Home,” written and originally recorded by Charlie Rich in 1971. Further down the album, we find another cover with “Hurt” that was originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails in 1994 and covered by Johnny Cash in 2003. The final cover is found in John Prine’s 1971 song “Paradise.” He also includes a public domain song with “Let The Lower Lights Be Burning.” It is my personal hypothesis that John Carter included these songs to boost his talents as a singer as he does record them rather well. Nonetheless, a cover is only the means to state that you are a cover artist and nothing more. As for the rest of the twelve songs from this project, there are four worth mentioning. The first is “Dragon Song,” which is performed in a Bob Dylan want-to-be mentality. It is not the creativity of the song that makes me mention it, rather it’s the vulgarity within the lyrics that I wish to disclose. If you wish to seek John Carter Cash, then take a listen to “Heaven’s Song,” “Holy Train,” and “Dance With Me.” These songs are the best that we can expect from John Carter and that’s not saying much as each of the songs lack pure emotions, panache, and expressiveness worthy of the listener’s attention. It is my belief that Ray Stevens could give “Holy Train” the life it so deserves. It is my theory that John Carter Cash has been placed so high upon a pedestal that many in the music industry fear his wrath if they were to tell him the truth. Nonetheless, I also feel that he would rather not be placed so high, but to walk among those of us who are well grounded. Not all is lost as I personally feel that he can create some beautiful instrumentals. Perhaps he should take this path. $$
(This review was printed in the July / August 2018 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)
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