June Carter Cash

Record Review

Phases and Stages

June Carter Cash

Wildwood Flower (Dualtone) Thirteen songs. It's hard to believe someone could boil down such a fruitful, joy-filled life into 13 songs, but such is June Carter Cash's final recording, Wildwood Flower. This album serves as a placeholder for Cash, who passed away May 15, a reminder of the seminal role she played in folk and country music, as well as in her cherished family. Featuring Carter Family classics such as the title track and "Keep on the Sunny Side," as well as originals like "Big Yellow Peaches" and "Road to Kaintuck," this naked, joyful album is alternately hilarious and wrenching as the listener travels with Cash during her final hours. Interspersed among the contemporary tracks are snippets of Cash singing as a wee girl with the Carter Family, as well as telling crazy stories about Lee Marvin and reminiscing about her mother Maybelle. Particularly hankie-worthy is "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?" in which Cash queries her loved ones about what they'll do after she passes away. Johnny Cash is featured prominently here, which is particularly poignant considering the fact it was widely assumed Johnny would go first. This weeper is followed with another Carter Family classic, "Anchored in Love," sung by Joe Carter and Dale Jett. A song about the peace brought on by death, the quiet after "the tempest is o'er," it serves as a fitting eulogy for this much-loved matriarch.

****

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