Various Artists

We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash

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In April of 2012, ACL's Moody Theater in Austin, Texas, held an all-star bash to celebrate what would have been Johnny Cash's 80th Birthday and that concert is captured on Legacy's CD/DVD set We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash. The DVD has a slightly different sequencing than the CD but the essentials remain the same: this is a spirited salute to the great man. Where the slow spots arrive is all a matter of taste: it could be the slightly slick balladeering of Pat Monahan on "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Iron & Wine's overly sleepy "The Long Black Veil," Ronnie Dunn's by-the-numbers "Ring of Fire," or Lucinda Williams' growl through "Hurt," none of which are bad but they may not appeal to those who prefer the wild, woolly train-track rhythms of Kris Kristofferson's "Big River," Rhett Miller's "Wreck of the Old 97," Carolina Chocolate Drops' stampeding "Jackson," or Buddy Miller's "Hey Porter," all faithful but loose evocations of Cash's prime. Along the way there are some surprises, too: Evanescence's Amy Lee delivers an expertly mournful "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Brandi Carlile tears through "Folsom Prison Blues" with an earthy ferocity she's long kept hidden. Ultimately, this show was not about surprises or reinventions; it was a full-throated celebration of Cash's music, both his songs and his sounds, both of which are given the loving but not overly respectful treatment they deserve. It's not major -- it's nothing but a good time, but that's enough.

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