Review: Johnny Cash, ‘American VI: Ain’t No Grave’

Review: Johnny Cash, ‘American VI: Ain’t No Grave’: Aidin Vaziri | “There ain’t no grave can hold my body down,” Johnny Cash sings, opening the final set of songs he recorded with producer Rick Rubin before his death in 2003. The Man in Black’s mood is tough but resigned. He had just buried his wife, June Carter Cash, and was coming to terms with his own mortality after years of health problems left him at a standstill. With 10 tracks clocking in at a half hour, it’s a brief goodbye that sees Cash lending his gravelly bass-baritone to solemn covers of Sheryl Crow’s “Redemption Day,” Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times” and Tom Paxton’s “I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound,” as well as a new original, “1 Corinthians, 15:55.” Even though it is the last piece of the “American Recordings” collection, it is also the least likely to inspire tears. Using members of the Avett Brothers and Tom Petty’s band to flesh out the songs, Rubin has made them sound unexpectedly sweet-natured, capturing not the dread that comes from expecting death but the sense of liberation that comes with crossing over.

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