Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave

Are you prepared to die? Are your affairs in order? Have you made out a will? Does your family know where all of your important documents are? Have you decided on what type of service and burial you want to help ease the burden on your loved ones? These are morbid questions but are important ones to ponder before The Big Inevitable. But all of these thoughts are pure joy compared to listening to the final recordings of Johnny Cash.

This is the 6th and final installment of the recordings that our beloved national treasure made for Rick Rubin’s American label. Like the past few, these are not a lot of fun to listen to. The voice that was once so deep and comforting is frail and faded. He may not be boastful or full of swagger but the confidence, pride and heart shine through on these ten songs. It’s a fairly short album, but I don’t know too many people that could handle more of this.

Spiritual songs like “Ain't No Grave,” “Redemption Day,” and “I Corinthians 15:55” are delivered so sincerely that even staunch non-believers may have to pause and reconsider their convictions. You might think that a song called “For The Good Times” might be somewhat upbeat but the opening line is “don’t look so sad, I know it’s over.” It’s reassuring to hear Johnny sing that life goes on and the importance of staying true to loved ones. The old gunfighter ballad “Cool Water” is delivered in a pure desert parched voice that will make you appreciate modern plumbing like never before.

But probably the saddest song on the entire album is “Aloha Oe.” Most people probably associate this song with Don Ho, ukuleles and closing time at the hotel tiki bar  but have never paid attention to the words. Listening to Johnny Cash sing it is pure heartbreak. Did anyone really want to say Aloha (farewell to the) to The Man In Black?

Under no circumstances should you listen to this album while intoxicated or have access to firearms. Seriously.


To add to the tone of Johnny's music, Feb 26th is Johnny Cash's 78th birthday.  To celebrate his life, The Cash Family, Rick Rubin and Lost Highway Records have asked everyone, worldwide, to wear black for Johnny's birthday.  We, at the Ripple, will be.

buy here: American VI: Ain't No Grave


Anonymous said…
The review breaks my heart...what will Mr. Cash's music do to me.