Day 76: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music

It's a country kind of day here, and we actually have a couple more of those coming up.

Today we feature the music of Johnny Cash (Chuck's pick) and Jo-el Sonnier (Kendall's pick). The two men were friends, and Sonnier added harmonica, concertina and accordion to some of Cash's records starting in the late '70s. The Man in Black also recorded some of Sonnier's compositions including "Cajun Born."

Sonnier also recorded his own version of the song, but in 1975, it was recorded by Emmylou Harris - one of Cash's many duet partners through the years. Her version of "Cajun Born" was included as a bonus track on a 2004 CD release of her 1975 album Elite Hotel - your bonus pick of the day.

- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb


Johnny Cash

American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)

Why I Love It

One of my greatest regrets of my life as a music lover is not seeing Johnny Cash live. One of my friends from college, Noel, saw him in the late 1990s and told me that the show was incredible. The legendary Man in Black had a resurgence in popularity when he began his American series of albums with producer Rick Rubin, another music legend. On this fourth installment, Cash was covering rock and roll songs and making them his own as only he could. Before I ever saw the heartbreaking video for "Hurt" that featured him clearly nearing the end of his life and looking back, I was so emotionally moved by simply hearing the Nine Inch Nails cover. It's one of the most powerful renditions of any song that I've ever heard. This entire album is a work of art by an artist with enough masterpieces to fill up a museum. But it also stands alone as something I didn't expect from a guy who I had known and loved pretty much my whole life. It's fantastic on every level.

Album Highlights

"Hurt," "I Hung My Head" and "Personal Jesus"

Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day

I think Chuck says it best when he says this work "also stands alone as something I didn't expect" from Johnny Cash. No kidding. The first time I heard this album, it was jarring in its candor; like the sound of an artist singing from the grave before he was even there. That's how it sounded then to me, and that's how it sounds now. It's an album that is a spiritual experience to me each time I hear it.


Jo-el Sonnier

Come On Joe (1987)

Why I Love It

Jo-El Sonnier recorded several albums of Cajun music in the 1970's and even charted a couple of minor singles after landing a record deal with Mercury Nashville.

It wasn't until he released his 1987 debut album on RCA titled Come on Joe that he became a legitimate country star. The album produced the Top Ten hits "Tear-Stained Letter" and "No More One More Time." The latter is one of my favorite country songs of all-time and peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

Sonnier's star quickly faded, but he continued to release albums through the years winning his first Grammy in 2015 for The Legacy which took home the trophy for best regional roots album.

Album Highlights

"No More One More Time," "Come On Joe" and "Tear-Stained Letter"

Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day

Although I am not much of a drinker, I adore New Orleans. One of the reasons I always go back to that great city is the music. Jo-El Sonnier is as Louisiana as they get. His brand of Zydeco is infectious. Not many guys can do what he does on the accordion. This is album is full of great songs that will make you fall in love with Cajun music for the first time or all over again. "No More One More Time" is one of my favorite songs in any genre. This was a pleasant surprise on Kendall's list.

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