Site not look beautiful? Click here

Music

[Covers]

Johnny Cash

American VI: Ain’t No Grave

Image
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave

Funny how, when channeled through Cash’s world-weary baritone, songs about death sound like such downers. Yet the prevailing message of the hushed covers, traditional reworkings and lone Bible verse (“I Corinthians 15:55”) set to sparse strings and acoustic strums is ultimately one of defiance, redemption and joy.

The Details

Johnny Cash
Three and a half stars
Beyond the Weekly
Johnny Cash
Billboard: American VI: Ain't No Grave

The final (and second posthumous) release of the Rick Rubin-produced American series culls 10 tracks from the American V: A Hundred Highways sessions. The B-sides don’t quite stack up to their predecessor, but unlike earlier collaborations (IV’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” for example), VI throws few curveballs regarding either range or theme. The chain-link shuffle of Claude Ely’s title track’s hearkens Gabriel’s trumpet, while Sheryl Crow’s “Redemption Day” sets its sights on heaven’s gate and Ed McCurdy’s “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” envisions bowed heads, joined prayer and eternal peace. Even secular tracks like Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times” and Joe “Red” Hayes and Jack Rhodes’ oft-covered “A Satisfied Mind” make peace with mortal loss and prepare to face what comes next.

It may be a different paradise from which Cash bids “Farewell to thee ... Until we meet again” in closer “Aloha Oe,” but a bridge subtly echoing the hymn “How Great Thou Art” belies his journey’s true destination.

Share

Julie Seabaugh

Get more Julie Seabaugh

Commenting Policy

Previous Discussion:

  • If the venue continues to book rising stars, it might just be the best place to see them before they get big.

  • There were loud sing-alongs and vigorous mosh pits throughout the night, but it was all still fueled by nostalgia.

  • The band, which turns Velvet Underground songs into pizza anthems, hits LVCS on November 16.

  • Get More Music Stories
Top of Story