American VI: Ain't No Grave (2010)
|Artist: Johnny Cash|
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|The the sixth and final installment of Johnny Cash's critically-acclaimed American Recordings album series. As with the previous five albums in the American Recordings series, American VI was produced by Rick Rubin.
American VI is deeply elegiac and spiritual, with each song its own piece of the puzzle of life's mysteries and challenges - the pursuit of salvation, the importance of friendships, the dream of peace, the power of faith, and the joys and adversities that entail simple survival. It is an achingly personal and intimate statement, as, from the end of the line, Johnny Cash looks back on a most extraordinary life.
The songs on American VI are drawn from all over the musical landscape and from various eras, and include Sheryl Crow's moving "Redemption Day," close Cash friend Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times," "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" by Tom Paxton, Bob Nolan's "Cool Water," the hopeful "Last Night I had the Strangest Dream" by Ed McCurdy, J.H. Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes's "Satisfied Mind," Queen Lili'uokalani's song of farewell, "Aloha Oe," and the never before heard Cash original, "I Corinthians: 15:55," written over the last three years of his life.
American VI was recorded by Cash's long-time engineer, David "Fergie" Ferguson, and, as with its American V predecessor, tracked at the Cash Cabin Studio in Henderson, TN, and at Akadamie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research in Los Angeles, CA. Guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboardist Benmont Tench, who played on all of the series' albums sans the first one, were joined in the studio by guitarists Matt Sweeney and Jonny Polonsky, as well as Smokey Hormel, who also played on American IV and V. In addition, The Avett Brothers' Scott and Seth made cameo appearances on the track "Ain't No Grave."
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Personnel: Jonny Polosky, Jonny Polonsky, Matt Sweeney, Mike Campbell , Smokey Hormel (guitar); Benmont Tench (piano, harpsichord, organ); Mike Leach, Jack Clement, Josh Graves, June Carter Cash, Larry Gatlin, Larry Perkins, Mac Wiseman, Mark Howard, Marty Stuart, Pat McLaughlin, Pete Wade, Randy Scruggs, Reggie Young , Mickey Raphael, Dennis Crouch, Dave Roe, Laura Cash .|
|Audio Mixers: David Ferguson ; Greg Fidelman.|
|Photographer: Martyn Atkins.|
|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. ~ Thom Jurek|
Producer: Rick Rubin
Engineer: David Ferguson; Greg Fidelman
Associated Artists and Works
|Release Date : 02/23/2010|
|Original Release Date : 2010|
|Catalog ID : 2731562|
|Label : Lost Highway|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00602527315621|
- "The 10 tracks on AMERICAN VI: AIN'T NO GRAVE are drenched in mortality, but Cash stares it full in the face without any audible fear..."