Back in 1996, before she released “Redemption Day,” Crow visited the Bosnia with then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
“I’d never been anywhere even close to a war-torn area,” Crow said of the trip, where she visited military bases, played for troops and met with families. But when she returned home, the news was covering the ongoing genocide in Rwanda. “We had all these resources tied up in Bosnia, and I kept thinking about how and why do we choose where to get involved. Is it desire for control, greed for oil—what is it?” So when she sat down to right a song about a breakup, all these thoughts about war came rushing out. “Redemption Day” was born.
Then in 2003, one of Cash’s sons-in-law played “Redemption Day” for Johnny, who immediately wanted to talk to her after he heard it. “He asked a lot of questions about different lines and what I meant,” says Crow. “He didn’t want to put his voice to the song without being able to believe it heart and soul.”
Cash ended up recording his version shortly before his death in 2003, however it wasn’t released until his 2010 American VI: Ain’t No Grave album, 7 years after his death.
“This song has had a lot of different lives,” says Crow. “It’s led me to some strange and interesting opportunities.”