Folk Spotlight 

Sheryl Crow’s “Redemption Day” by Johnny Cash

In Sheryl Crow‘s sophomore self-titled 1996 album, there’s is a beautiful ballad by the biblical title “Redemption Day”. The words are even stronger than the melody itself and Crow’s performance is mature with a steel coloured voice in her mid-thirties. She has stated that the song is political exactly as it sounds:

[..] inspired by an eye-opening visit to Bosnia in the same year with Hillary Clinton.  “I really experienced something I’d never seen before, which was what it looks like to be in a war-torn area and meet people who had suffered through that,” Crow explains to Rolling Stone Country. “Part of [Hillary’s] goal was to speak to the women and children in those villages. The moment we went into Bosnia, the whole genocide was happening in Rwanda and we sat back and watched it, yet Bosnia seemed to be kind of a stronghold in Europe and we needed the military presence there. I came home really struck by the question of why we invest in some countries and other countries we don’t.”

Johnny Cash recorded his version of the song in 2006 and it was released posthumously in his album “American VI: Ain’t No Grave” (2010). Crow has told Reuters:

[..] when recording the song, Cash frequently called her on the phone to gain insights into the lyrics. “If he was going to sing a song, it was going to be a part of his molecular makeup,” she said. “He was going to deliver it as if he wrote it. The questions that he asked and his concern for whether I would like what he was doing, it was just really humbling.”

The video here is a live performance of the song by Crow and her band from 2014, with Cash’s recorded vocals mixed live.


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