More than 30 years in the making, Johnny Cash’s new album, Songwriter, will be released June 28 via Mercury Nashville/UMe, and now those eagerly awaiting its release can hear the second track, “Spotlight,” streaming everywhere now. The song is bolstered by a bluesy guitar solo from Grammy-winning musician and producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. 

Listen to “Spotlight” and pre-order Songwriter here:

The vocals for “Spotlight” were recorded by Johnny in early 1993 at LSI Studios in Nashville as part of a demo session. John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash, found Johnny’s vocal performance incredibly strong and sought to free it from the somewhat dated production. Along with co-producer David “Fergie” Ferguson he stripped the song down to just Johnny’s powerful, pristine vocals and brought in a handpicked group of musicians that played with Johnny, including guitarist Marty Stuart and the late bassist Dave Roe, along with drummer Pete Abbott and several others, to the Cash Cabin, a hallowed space for Johnny in Hendersonville, Tenn., to create a new arrangement for the song. Dan Auerbach was recruited by longtime friend and recording associate, Fergie. “Spotlight” like all the songs on Songwriter was written solely by Johnny Cash. 

“It was the thrill of a lifetime to be able to play guitar on a Johnny Cash song,” said Dan Auerbach. “Hearing his voice through the speakers in my studio sent chills down my spine. I can’t thank John Carter and Fergie enough for including me.”

“It was great to have Dan be a part of ‘Spotlight’ and to add his guitar tones and his sounds to this incredible song, “said John Carter Cash. “I think it really opened it up into a different direction. It’s good to hear two fantastic guitarists, Dan and Marty, working together to bring this song alive.”

“Spotlight” follows the first single, “Well Alright,” which has been incredibly well received by fans, press and radio alike. The track is quickly soaring up the Americana Radio chart where it is currently #21 after just a few weeks of airplay and is also making an impact at Non-Comm/Triple A radio with more than 20 adds across the country as well as national play from “World Café” and SiriusXM Outlaw Country. Upon release the song was featured in The New York Times’ Playlist and received four-stars from The Guardian, who hailed it as, “A jovial tale of a hook-up in a launderette that ultimately leads to marriage, filled with winking lines – ‘I opened up the dryer and I set it on soft and light / She said ‘be careful with my silk and lace’ and I said ‘well, alright'” – it arrives decorated with twanging reverb-heavy electric guitar, upright bass and Cash’s preferred boom-chicka-boom rhythm,” adding “this fun, lightweight song is a long way from the moody recordings with Rick Rubin he soon turned towards.”

Returning the focus to Johnny’s own songwriting, the 11-track collection, Songwriter, showcases the breadth of his writing, one that has always represented the great expanse of the human condition: there are songs of love, family, sorrow, beauty, spiritual salvation, survival, redemption, and of course, some of the lighthearted humor Johnny was known for, all sung in his unmistakable, trademark, resonant voice.  

Songwriter will be available to stream and download, as well as on CD and a variety of vinyl options, including standard black and several limited-edition color variants. 



1. Hello Out There

2. Spotlight

3. Drive On

4. I Love You Tonite

5. Have You Ever Been to Little Rock?

6. Well Alright

7. She Sang Sweet Baby James

8. Poor Valley Girl

9. Soldier Boy

10.Sing It Pretty Sue

11. Like A Soldier


Side A

1. Hello Out There

2. Spotlight

3. Drive On

4. I Love You Tonite

5. Have You Ever Been To Little Rock?

Side B

1. Well Alright

2. She Sang Sweet Baby James

3. Poor Valley Girl

4. Soldier Boy

5. Sing It Pretty Sue

6. Like A Soldier

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