Johnny Cash was a big-tent artist, drawing followers from every corner. "We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash" is a perfect example of this.
The DVD/CD release chronicles a concert held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, to celebrate what would have been Cash's 80th birthday. Drawing musicians from not just the world of country music, but also from rock, pop and folk, "We Walk the Line" shows just how wide-ranging an influence the American icon remains.
The concert included a few key acts from the outlaw country music world like Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, Cash's longtime friends and collaborators. And Jamey Johnson and Shooter Jennings take over for Cash and Waylon Jennings in a moving re-imagining of The Highwaymen with Nelson and Kristofferson.
The rest of the lineup comes from all over the map and includes Ronnie Dunn, Brandi Carlile, Andy Grammer, Shelby Lynne, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Train's Pat Monahan, Iron & Wine and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who steal the show.
Like all such tributes, some of the song-artist pairings are head-scratchers. But there are some great moments: Nelson's guitar playing, Johnson's rumbling voice standing in for Cash on "Highwayman," Grammer's strangely beautiful shuffling take on "Get Rhythm," Dunn's sense of humor and horn section, and a crackerjack band led by Don Was and Buddy Miller.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: The concert really doesn't get rolling until the Chocolate Drops show up midway through with a rolling, rollicking rendition of "Jackson." And Dom Flemons pulls out the reed flute and totally enlivens the concert-ending group singalong of "I Walk the Line." Not to be missed.