PRESS ON was released in 1999, 4 years before JUNE CARTER CASH passed away at the age of 74. Accompanying June on an album almost entirely written by June herself are several formidable musicians including MARTY STUART (mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals), RODNEY CROWELL (vocals, acoustic guitar) and June’s own legendary MAN iN BLACK, JOHNNY CASH. When she and her band aren’t laying down a foot-thumping tale of some kind, June will pick up her autoharp and turn the feeling around to one of SPiRiT and PAiN. And she particularly shines on the albums 3 ORiGiNAL CARTER FAMiLY songs (Diamonds In the Rust, Meeting In the Air, Will the Circle Be Unbroken), perhaps in part because the family songs hold much meaning and memory for her. In fact, PRESS ON has several family connections, as June looks to her family to sing and play with throughout the entire album, using her adult children and grandchildren on many songs. The results are effortless, touching and fun.
In short, PRESS ON gives us June’s story in snap shots that come in the form of some very beautiful music. At one moment June’s aged voice can sing of her childhood memories growing up in the mountains, to finding herself now a deeply religious and spiritual woman of life experience. She’s feisty and sounds interested in having us remember her gift for music. Above all you get a sense that June was and remained a vivacious woman surrounded by many who loved and respected her.
Speaking of being surrounded by those who loved her, a highlight of PRESS ON comes with June and Johnny Cash’s duet THE FAR SiDE BANKS OF JORDAN. This recording alone is a very special piece of history on record.