Originally, the Cash family cabin was never intended to be a studio, it was only a sanctuary. Johnny would cook meals there, make breakfast for himself and his son John Carter Cash, watch movies and work on his leather works. June would stay sometimes, but mostly it was Johnny’s private “Sugar Shack”, a quiet place in the woods to recharge. There has been a lot of life lived in the Cabin, music written on the front porch, and joy shared within its walls.
The year the Cabin was built, Elvis Costello and Dave Edmunds along with members of the band Rockpile visited, being some of the first to write their names on the fireplace mantle piece. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers stopped by in the early 1980’s. In 1982 Johnny’s daughter Kathy and her husband Jimmy were wed there. Television star John Schneider of “The Dukes of Hazard” fame actually lived in the cabin for a period of time in the middle 1980’s. Early visitors included actor Robert Duvall, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Bono and Adam Clayton of U2.
In 1991, June’s sister Anita Carter moved into the cabin and made it her home. It was actually Anita who first ever recorded in the cabin. Recording gear was brought in and set up and featured some wonderful musicians including Anita’s dear, old friend and master producer/guitarist Chet Atkins. In 1992, Johnny met producer Rick Rubin. Rick was had a diverse creative palate, having made recordings for Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, a number of other groundbreaking rap and heavy metal artists likewise. Johnny signed with Rick’s record company and went to California to work with Rick. Although most of Johnny’s first album in the Grammy Award winning American Recordings series was recorded at Rick’s Los Angeles home, there were a couple tracks recorded in the Cabin, with a simple tape machine and standard microphones. The magic of the Cabin’s music took off from there.
Beginning with American Recordings III, Solitary Man, Johnny went on to record almost half of the remainder of the American Recordings series at the Cabin. June Carter Cash also recorded both of her latter life Grammy Award winning albums Press On and Wildwood Flower at the Cabin. Through this process, John Carter Cash worked intensely with his parents on their music.
In Summer of 2003, Johnny’s very last recording, mere days before his death, was in the Cabin. He recorded two songs in their entirety those two sessions that day. These were “Like the 309” early in the day, for the album “American Recordings V, A Hundred Highways”, and “Engine 143” at the end of the day, for an album being produced by John Carter, “The Unbroken Circle, The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family”.
In the years that followed after Johnny and June’s passing John Carter continued to record and produce music in the Cabin. The Cash Cabin Studio, as it is now known, has changed over the years, although the heart has remained unchanged. In 2003 a tracking room was added onto the original cabin structure, along with two booths. In 2006, a control room, storage room and natural reverb chamber were built on, along with an expansive deck. Since music was first made at the cabin hundreds of talented musicians and artists have recorded at the cabin.
In 2007 Loretta Lynn began sessions at the Cabin. At the date of this writing Loretta has recorded over 105 songs at the Cabin, with her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash as co-producers.
Now the Cash Cabin Studio is a private recording space, owned and managed by John Carter and his wife Ana Cristina Cash. And so the music continues…