Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash
Genteel and lacking the rigorous approach that can recontextualize old favorites, Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash peaks with Billy Bob Thornton and the Peasall Sisters' "Road to Kaintuck." This is strange, since Anchored features singers on the order of Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, and Rosanne Cash. Sure, Rosanne interprets "Wings of Angels" with care, and you can hear Costello worrying about his phrasing on an otherwise nondescript version of "Ring of Fire." But Thornton has the sense to speak the silly song deadpan and leave the singing to the Peasall Sisters, who deliver the lines, "Every Injun in them hills has gone berserk/And you're never gonna make it to Kaintuck," with a cheerfulness that only underscores their grim message.
Still, Grey De Lisle does well by June Carter Cash's revenge tale, "Big Yellow Peaches," which starts out with creepy autoharp Animal Collective would envy. "He was running around on the Mexican border/He was a dirty, thieving outlaw," De Lisle sings. Her breathy vocals might be a touch overdone, but this suits a song that takes into account the way June Carter always seemed to make room in her heart for outlaws, including her husband. Elsewhere, Carlene Carter and Ronnie Dunn don't outdo June and Johnny on "Jackson," while Patty Loveless sings "Far Side Banks of Jordan" beautifully enough to counter Kris Kristofferson's tuneless croak. The duet suggests that women ought to leave their men back home in Kaintuck, and sing their songs their own inimitable way.