Tribute albums frequently betray their subject, but not this homage to Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears, the country giant’s 1964 salute to Native Americans. A concept album about a discomfiting cause – the US’s treatment of its indigenous people – Tears was a radical statement resisted, to Cash’s fury, by the Nashville establishment. For its 50th anniversary, producer Joe Henry gathers a stellar house band that takes turns to lead. Gillian Welch delivers an entrancing As Long As the Grass Shall Grow; Emmylou does likewise with Apache Tears. Steve Earle drawls: “I ain’t no fan of Custer” and instrumentals evoke North America’s haunted plains. Very fine.
Various: Look Again to the Wind review –homage to Johnny Cash’s radical 60s album
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer