This is a truly special song from John Carter Cash. ‘Garden of Stone’ is beautifully lyrical and captures perfectly the deeply reflective themes of time passing, of endings and legacy and what lives on after we are gone. It’s a song steeped in family history and tradition and, like all the best songs, something universal grows out of something intensely personal and real to John Carter Cash. The bell you can hear in the song was actually rung by children and grandchildren in the family rose garden after his parents June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash died. His words transport us to this poignant moment, this family gathering in which memories are explored and collective traditions are upheld. The loss is palpable in lines like: “Now an empty garden // Sits broken and alone // All scattered rocks // I keep the bells at home.” However, by the song’s close, there is an emerging hopefulness. Reinforcing that sense of family community, the video was directed by Cash’s eldest son Joseph Cash and his daughter AnnaBelle also appears.
John Carter Cash and The Cash Collective have released ‘King Of The Sky’ at the same time as this moving single. On ‘King of the Sky’, Cash collaborated with highly-regarded guitarist Justin Johnson to create an upbeat song, entirely different from this. As a GRAMMY Award-winning producer, Cash has worked with the likes of Elvis Costello, Loretta Lynne, Chris Cornell, Mavis Staples, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell and John Prine. However, this song demonstrates his fine songcraft and wonderful gifts as an artist in his own right. ‘Garden of Stone’ is the sort of song that stays with you, prompting the listener to reflect on their own place in a familial chain, to consider what might be preserved and passed on, and what may not.