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American III: Solitary Man

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Editors’ Notes

The third installation of Rick Rubin's Johnny Cash career revitalization project features the same modus operandi that made all their collaborations rich and fulfilling. Rubin pairs Cash with an eclectic range of material, pulls together a minimal, supportive cast (Merle Haggard, Sheryl Crow), and then lets Cash do his interpretive best with a voice deepening and fading with age. Cash was never a virtuoso, so his few, limited notes actually improve with the extra creak in their breath. Besides, it's great fun to hear Cash take U2's "One" and remove its arena-rock bluster, or to scale back Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat" until the death-row prisoner comes face to face with the moment of truth. Will Oldham's "I See A Darkness" is given a touch of true old-school Appalachia, while Neil Diamond's title track loses its sizzle until only the barest of bravado is left.

Customer Reviews

Great Buy

I'm not a big fan of country, but Johnny Cash (along with Charlie Feathers), always seems to impress me. A lot of songs on this album are cover songs by other bands, but I personally think Johnny does a MUCH better job. I hate U2's "One," but Johnny nails it perfectly. For the very low price of $5.99, this album is definitly worth it. The only drawback is the compilation songs, especially the one with Sheryl Crow, but overall I give this my stamp of approval. Sincerely, Duff Harris

Definition of what made Johnny Cash so special

Rubin did us all a favor by making sure Johnny Cash got these recordings done in his last years. Sure, the voice is weaker than it once was but the life force of the man may have been far stronger than it ever was in his long career. Listen to the duets--you know the other performers are giving it their best because they wanted their moments with this great man to be the best they could be. I'm just blown away by these albums.

American III -Solitary Man

This album is up there with Dylan's 'Time out of Mind' but with much more irony. It represents an artist at his mature best. 'I won't back down' has an anthemic quality of a legend who stoically faces what he knows is inevitable. Overall the American Series is a revalation and a must for any Johnny Cash collector.


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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