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Jonathan Elias - American River

This is not your typical country music album, there are no lyrics except for the spoken word. But the classically arranged music is accompanied by some of the best known names in country music, Johnny Cash, Roseanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris and Marty Stuart. All of the words spoken to the beautifully arranged music are the creation of the person speaking them. Not only do you get big names speaking on the CD, you get them playing on the CD too. Randy Scruggs, Marty Stuart and Ronnie McCoury all make appearances playing either acoustical guitar or the mandolin.

In his final recording Johnny Cash is first to speak on “The Continuance/Mariners and Musicians”, he speaks of “life being a river inside our souls”. Daughter Roseanne Cash with “Mariners and Musicians” speaks of the original Cash ancestors coming to America as sailors and farmers and how things have changed in the many years since they first arrived and how they are now musicians. You can hear how frail Johnny’s voice had become in the final months before his death, but it doesn’t make that voice any less powerful. It’s a must listen for any Johnny Cash fan.

Kris Kristofferson’s contribution to the CD is on “The Source”. He chose to write about rivers being a source of destruction and rebirth. He describes how the Rio Grande separates Texas and Mexico and how it brings life and can take it away. This contribution is the longest on the CD, but well worth it, the music and the words go together wonderfully. Kristofferson’s skill as a music writer is unsurpassed.

Emmylou Harris makes her contribution with a short poem that accompanies the song “Mother of Exile”. Marty Stuart is on the bonus track in “You Can’t Stop Love” telling us to wake up, love is the one thing you can’t kill. While Jonathan Elias may not be a household name, his music is probably known to you, some of the songs that you will hear on this CD have been featured in television commercials for Acura and Lexus. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first popped this into my CD player, the music is calming and relaxing after a stressful day. Beautiful music, wonderfully written words, take a chance and see what it’s all about!

Jonathan Elias - "The Continuance" featuring Johnny Cash and Roseanne Cash
Jonathan Elias - "The Source" featuring Kris Kristofferson

Jonathan Elias - "Mother of Exile" featuring Emmylou Harris

Jonathan Elias - "Can't Stop Love (Wake Up America)" featuring Marty Stuart

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