With twenty-seven historic recordings under her belt, the acclaimed autobiography My Fears Are Gone, continuous concert appearances and lineage to one of music's most famous families, Joanne Cash has countless tales to tell. But more than artistic accolades, her slew of collaborations with brother Johnny Cash and having spent several years working at the historic House of Cash hit making factory, the singer/songwriter extraordinaire is driven by a deeper sense of eternal purpose, despite times of trial and seasons of straying.
"My main purpose in this music is to win the lost and uplift the downtrodden, Cash says of her brand new career-spanning compilation Gospel. "I don't think we have much time left before Christ comes again and I want to be everything I can be for Jesus. I've seen so many people try and build their kingdom in music, but I don't worry about any of that earthly gain. When you let God do it, that's when the real effectiveness happens.
And roots in faith are exactly how Joanne remembers growing up in the Cash family alongside Johnny, plus fellow siblings Reba, Jack, Tommy, Roy and Louise. Some of her earliest memories from their Dyess, Arkansas upbringing (the family later migrated to Nashville) were singing spiritual standards in the cotton fields while working in the steamy sun, after which the family would convene inside together for old time radio programs.
"I'm amazed that at my age I still want to sing, but it's like therapy for me, she summarizes. "I'd say 2003 was one of the hardest years of my life since we lost four family members - our oldest sister Louise, June, Johnny and June's daughter Rosie- but it's like a prayer that lifts me up and it rests me when I'm tired. Johnny always helped me remember that and he was constantly encouraging. But there was one short phrase from Johnny that's always stuck with me and it's one I'll continue for as long as I'm here: Baby, just keep on singing!'
Joanne and her husband Dr. Harry Yates co-pastor the Cowboy Church in Nashville, TN and also co-host the Johnny Cash Radio Program Gospel Brunch.