American VI: Ain't No Grave

American VI: Ain't No Grave

by Johnny CashJohnny Cash
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Released for the occasion of Johnny Cash's 78th birthday, American VI: Ain't No Grave is the final installment in the collaboration between Cash and Rick Rubin that began with 1994's American Recordings. These ten songs were cut during the same sessions for American V: A Hundred Highways. Guitarists Mike Campbell, Matt Sweeney, Smokey Hormel, and Benmont Tench on keyboards were present, as were other musicians. June Carter Cash died during routine surgery during these sessions. Cash, though grief stricken and with full knowledge that he too was dying due to complications from Parkinson's disease, worked as often as his health would allow. He died three months after these songs were recorded. Ain't No Grave is an elegiac and deeply spiritual album, a formal goodbye without regret from a man and an artist of almost mythic stature. The song selection is rooted in the Americana, folk, country, and gospel traditions. There is an excellent reading of Tom Paxton's "Wonder Where I'm Bound" that doesn't feel as lost as the original, but more a statement after reflecting on a life fully lived. Likewise his version of Sheryl Crow's "Redemption Day" sums up Cash's own long commitment to social justice, and the need for individual accountability; its statement of hope is underscored here not as a dream, but as a conviction. Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good Times" begins with the words: "Don't look so sad, I know it's over/But life goes on/And this ole world will keep on turning." It offers a portrait of the dignity and grace Cash performed with all his life. "I Corinthian's 15:55" is his last self-penned song, a sweet, country-gospel melody that echoes far beyond the margins of contemporary music to an earlier time, and looks at the future with unshakable faith. The title track is a country-gospel-blues by Brother Claude Ely -- it's a fierce showdown with the Reaper, with the singer winning it hands down. There are excellent covers of Bob Nolan's "Cool Water," a song Cash often sang live that expresses empathy for the downtrodden, and "Satisfied Mind," written by Jack Rhodes and Red Hayes, played on a lone acoustic guitar, which dispenses the truth of earthly life into two-minutes-and-forty-eight seconds. Ed McCurdy's "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" is a true anti-war song that serves as a testimonial. The album's final cut is Queen Liliuokalani's traditional Hawaiian ballad "Aloha Oe," one of the sweetest, most affectionate leaving songs ever written. And Cash's version? It's devastatingly beautiful; to the point of tears. If there were any justice, Ain't No Grave would be the last album released under Cash's name. It is not only a compelling contribution to his legacy, but an offering that closes the historic American Recordings series with the same stamp of quality that began it.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/23/2010
Label: American Recordings
UPC: 0602527315621
catalogNumber: 001395402
Rank: 7966

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Cash   Primary Artist
Marty Stuart   Musician
Mac Wiseman   Musician
Pat McLaughlin   Musician
Mike Campbell   Guitar
Larry Gatlin   Musician
Mark Howard   Musician
Mickey Raphael   Musician
Benmont Tench   Organ,Piano,Harpsichord
June Carter Cash   Musician
Jack Clement   Musician
Dennis Crouch   Musician
Mike Leach   Musician
Larry Perkins   Musician
Randy Scruggs   Musician
Pete Wade   Musician
Reggie Young   Musician
Smokey Hormel   Guitar
Jonny Polonsky   Guitar
Matt Sweeney   Guitar
Laura Cash   Musician
Scott Avett   Banjo
Seth Avett   Foot Stomping
Uncle Josh Graves   Musician
Dave Roe   Musician
Jonny Polosky   Guitar

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Composer
Kris Kristofferson   Composer
Ed McCurdy   Composer
Tom Paxton   Composer
Tom Jones   Composer
Don Robertson   Composer
Sheryl Crow   Composer
David Ferguson   Engineer
Rick Rubin   Producer
Bob Nolan   Composer
Christine Cano   Art Direction
Greg Fidelman   Engineer
Jack Rhodes   Composer
Jack Rollins   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Joe "Red" Hayes   Composer
Red Hayes   Composer
Queen Lydia Lili'uokalani   Composer

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