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American VI: Ain't No Grave CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2010 release, the sixth and final chapter in the American series from the Country legend. Containing a collection of his final recordings, American VI: Ain't No Grave features one Johnny Cash original plus nine Cash-ified cover versions. Includes the Avett Brothers appearing on the title track plus musical assistance from Mike Campbell, Smokey Hormel, Matt Sweeney, Benmont Tench, Jonny Polosky and others.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 23, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: American Recordings/Lost Highway
  • ASIN: B0030NL8KK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,236 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
"American VI: Ain't no grave" is the final in the Rick Rubin produced "American" series of CDs by Johnny Cash. Like its predecessors, it comprises pared-back covers, as well as (in this case), an original (and purpotedly final) composition by Cash.

"I Corinthians 15:55" is the lone original with lyrics looking at his mortality and the hope of seeing his Redeemer. Mortality, love, redemption, and spirituality colour the 10 songs on this beautiful CD, and I must say, for what supposedly comprises his last recordings, he sounds a lot stronger than he did on songs like "If you could read my mind" (from "American V"), or "Bridge over troubled water" ("American IV), where he was slightly reedy.

"Redemption day" (a Sheryl Crow composition) is a beautiful acoustic ballad that wouldn't sound out of place in a Western movie, with Cash singing about the "train that's heading straight to heaven's gate", while "For the good times" (a Kris Kristofferson composition) is a heartbreaking farewell to his lover as they part and he reminisces the good times they shared.

"Can't help but wonder where I'm bound" touches on his journey on earth and his curiousity over his final destination. The solemn "Last night I had the strangest dream" finds him dreaming of a world with no more war, against a richer musical backdrop than the other songs.

Highlight, in my opinion" is "Ain't no grave", his fearless and defiant proclamation that no grave can hold his body down when he hears the trumpet sound, and his looking forward to meeting Jesus, his mother and father. Chiming bell sounds, Soft guitars and banjo set to shuffling shackled-footstep sounds which provide the gentle beat to this stirring song.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Perhaps the most surprising thing about AMERICAN VI: AIN'T NO GRAVE isn't that it was released (we love to exploit our deceased talents), but that it is such a solid album. These are among Cash's very last recordings, and it's true, his voice wasn't what it used to be (a review I read somewhere actually said Cash's voice got better closer to his death, or words to that effect; if you're offended and rather miffed, you aren't the only one), but that really isn't an issue on GRAVE. Sure, his voice slips here and there--but not as much as it did on AMERICAN V. And these are, overall, a better batch of songs, perhaps made slightly better by--of course--Cash himself, as well as the sparse acoustic arrangement.

This time, Cash covers songs from Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson, Hawaii, the Bible, and classic country radio; plus we get one of his final originals, "I Corinthians 15:55." Every single tune here is strong, a testament to who Cash was and the life he lived, especially at the end. There is not one disappointing song on here, and I mean that quite literally. From the opener (which sounds a bit too much like "God's Gonna Cut You Down," but maybe that isn't a bad thing) through the closer "Aloha Oe," every single one of these tunes/performances reaches into your soul and pulls at your heartstrings. And it's not because these were Cash's "final" recordings; it's because of the passion he put into them, and the passion that went into Rick Rubin's finishing them up.

Overall, Cash and Rubin's "American Recordings" series was one of the best things to hit the music world; I'd say "country music," but let's face it--compared to the current state of affairs in country music, the "American Recordings" belong in an entirely different category altogether.
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Format: Audio CD
Johnny Cash is forever with us, in spirit and in his music. The sixth volume of the Americana is a reminder of his greatness.

During the last few years of Johnny Cash's life he spent much of his time recording songs that meant a great deal to him. We know from his daughter, Rosanne Cash's recent CD, that her father loved the old time folk/gospel songs. This CD brings us the uplifting, redeeming qualities that may have been in Johnny Cash's mind as he sang the songs he loved. This is a gruff old voice, but the meaning of his life surrounds us.

Rick Rubin produced this CD, as he has all of the Americana series. There are ten songs on this CD that bring the face of death before us. And, at the same time, we are privy to a forgiving spirit that has seen it all.

'Ain't No Grave' is so perfect, as it opens up the view of the spirit that grows as the CD proceeds. Nothing is going
to keep him down.

'Redemption Day' is a Sheryl Crow song that had an anti-war stance, but with Johnny Cash it is a song sorrow and love for all- merciful.

'For The Good Times' an old Kris Kristofferson tune, is my favorite- an old hand, giving a tip of the hat to the times of yore when things were good. A sentimental favorite that we all can relate to.

'Corinthians'- 'death where is thy sting'- looking forward to seeing those gone before.

'Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound' a Tom Paxton tune, wandering and wondering what he was meant to be. A look back and forward to whatever is coming.

'Satisfied Mind'-everything that has gone before is done and done-some regrets but not many- 'believe there is no doubt;- he leaves this old world with a satisfied mind'.
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