The epic image of Johnny Cash as country music’s most iconic outlaw does not always jive with the fact that the Man in Black was also a subtle, talented literary artist. This is evident on his Forever Words, a collection of Cash’s poems, lyrics, and letters set to music by a swarm of Cash superfans including her daughter Rosanne Cash, Brad Paisley, Kacey Musgraves, Alisson Krauss Chris Cornell, and a lot more. The best minutes on Forever Words disclose as much about the artists taking on Cash’s words as they do about the complex man who once wrote them. Today, we will listen to “The Captain’s Daughter” by Alisson Krauss and Union Station.

“The Captain’s Daughter”, Alisson Krauss and Union Station

The most lasting tribute to Cash that Forever Words offer is just how effortlessly his prose and poetry is shaped into an array of diverse personal styles. The office of the late Johnny Cash spilled over notebooks, binders, journals, and spiritual texts. Among these were handwritten poems, letters, and song lyrics that the known artist had set aside. These made up more than two thousand pages and slops of paper. One of the earliest works recorded for the album is “The Captain’s Daughter”. An overlooked Alison Krauss and Union Station hit from the turn of the century with this Johnny Cash poem. Johnny Cash wrote this when he was nineteen or twenty years old. This was what Krauss and her band chose to record.

We closely get a sense of the main character in the song. The poor boy wanted to be with the rich girl but is unable to be anything other than what he is. The girl has to choose between luxuries, not to mention her father, and the poor boy. We can feel her restraint as well as her longing to go with the poor boy.

The Invite

The album producer. John Carter Cash, invited Alisson Krauss much as he did with everyone else who contributed to Forever Words. He asked Alisson to take a look and pick something that speaks to her. Krauss said that she came up with her track, “The Captain’s Daughter”, a poem purified as an old Anglo-Celtic-style ballad. She made it less like she was finishing something that was incomplete and more like she was crafting something new. They talk about creating the song here:

Stay tuned as we wait for the official video of the song by visiting our website on Country Thang Daily.