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American V: A Hundred Highways

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iTunes Review

Producer Rick Rubin ensured that Johnny Cash’s final decade was one that played to the elder statesman’s musical and ideological strengths. They recorded and released four albums together before Cash’s death in 2003 and this is the fifth collection. Cash’s vocals were recorded in 2002-2003, with Rubin adding the overdubs posthumously. Not surprisingly, the songs center around death and in Cash’s intimate, wobbling tone take on both a strength and fragility that is breathtaking in its splendor. It includes his final composition, “Like the 309,” where a train takes his casket away, and many other chilling glimpses at a man in declining health facing his final days. From Bruce Springsteen’s “Further On (Up the Road)” to folk standards such as Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” and Ian Tyson’s “Four Strong Winds,” the songs take on a gravitas that makes their original intentions seem like a recounting of puppy love. In keeping with previous Rubin productions, the arrangements are quiet and well suited, orchestrated in spots with Cash’s voice front and center.

Customer Reviews


He may have been old. His voice may have been shot. He may have been feeble of body - but his passion, his faith and his gift are fully bared and, in my opinon, reaches a pinnacle of deep and fearless honesty on this album. These recordings were made by a man who knew that the end was near and that his journey to deaths door was not that of a complete saint - nor that of a forgone sinner - but that of a man that was a torn and mended, over and over again, by a soul that was both. Also refelcted in this album is the heartbreak over the loss of his wife, his muse and his soul mate - June Carter. They were two parts of a whole and Johnny's self knowledge of this fact makes the pain of his loss palpable through the chords and the words. But there is something else - a deep sense of knowing and relief that the end is approaching and a truly ecstatic and beatific yearning to be done with it all. To be home. To be with June. To have peace. I have been a fan of Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin's American Recordings since I accidentally discovered them four years ago and for this accident I am truly grateful. But, with this album, I am beyond grateful - I am in debt. I owe this man for his deep, deep bravery as shown here - a beautiful, old, cracked and crotchety country boy that lived a hard life and gave everything he had to his art for as long as he possibly could. I owe him for sharing his soul - all of it - with all of us. I owe him for his pursuit of beautiful, tainted, torn and perfect truth right to the end. There are no illusions here - just Johnny Cash. But, isn't that all he ever promised?

The man, the myth, the legend

I met Johnny Cash in a bar outside of Tuczson Arizona and he said two things to me that I'll never forget: "God aint any better than you kid, just bigger" and "How bout you ordering me a frankfurter" In a strange kind of way, this album brings me back to that lonely bar in Arizona; bare, lonely, and worn down with a strange kind of poetic decadence.

A Wonderful Emotional Experience

This is a good record period but for someone who knows and understands Johnny Cash and his music this record will move you like very little else can. This is the best way "The Man In Black" can possibally go out. It's stark, simple and brutally honest. Listen to and REMEMBER Johnny Cash. We miss you.


Born: February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, AR

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Johnny Cash was one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music. With his deep, resonant baritone and spare percussive guitar, he had a basic, distinctive sound. Cash didn't sound like Nashville, nor did he sound like honky tonk or rock & roll. He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. Cash's career coincided with the birth of rock & roll, and...
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