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Ana Cristina Cash Creates a Song Out of Johnny Cash's Lyrics on New Album 'Shine': Premiere

Ana Cristina
David McClister

Ana Cristina

It's fair to say that Ana Cristina Cash's Shine is the first full statement of a new career path for the singer.

The Miami-born Cash, who’s married to John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, made her name as a Latin American singer and teen prodigy. A move to Los Angeles yielded 2016's West Coast Sessions, her first English-language album, and its "pop-soul vibe."

Cash moved to Nashville in 2014, and Music City made its impact on her Tough Love EP and now on Shine, due Friday on the couple's  Avondale Records. The album, which premieres in full below, features the EP's six songs, plus six new tracks and covers of Roy Orbison's "Dream" and John Anderson's "Seminole Wind.”

"Just living in Nashville, I'm surrounded by amazing country musicians," Cash tells Billboard. "I grew up listening to a lot of country in Miami, even though I have a Latin music background."

While there are definitely country influences throughout Shine on song such as “Southern Roots,” "Tug of War" and the weepy "Broken Roses," it's not a conventional country album by any means, she says.

“I really wanted to create a strong singer-songwriter album,” Cash says. “There's a lot of story songs on this record, definitely a mix between pop, Americana, blues and country."

The blend stands out on "Brand New Pair of Shoes," a jaunty saloon blues tune that Cash wrote from lyrics by her late father-in-law that had never been set to music. The song will also appear on a second volume of John Carter Cash's Forever Words project of other Johnny Cash lyrics taken on by other artists, but she wanted to include the tune on Shine as well. "My husband brought 'Brand New Pair of Shoes' to me on a piece of paper in [Johnny Cash’s] handwriting, a photocopy, of course," she recalls. "It was very short, very few words. I sat with them for a while, and I really just wanted to do them justice -- with a certain amount of pressure.

"When I sat down with it—these lyrics about French perfume and furs—I immediately knew I had to write something with a jazzy melody. It sounded very playful and flirtatious. John Carter told me 'He's definitely talking about my mom...' Those lyrics are playful yet sarcastic at the same time. It was really an honor to put them to music.”

Cash recorded Shine at the Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, Tenn. “It's a very homey studio. So many wonderful artists have been through there. There's a lot of good vibes when you walk into the place."

She wrote "Tug of War" by herself and collaborated with her husband, Clare Bowen, Brandon Robert Young, Bill Miller, Shawn Camp and other co-writers on the other original tracks. While she's disappointed that all live performance plans are on hold now—including an April 25 date at the Grand Ole Opry-she’s looking forward to releasing Shine. "It feels very cathartic to be putting art out into the world right now," she says.

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