Johnny Cash Final American Recording Album A Hit
The album, which closes out the Rick Rubin-produced and critically-acclaimed American Recordings series, was officially released on February 26, the day that would have been Cash's 78th birthday. Cash's Ain't No Grave shares the apex of the Billboard chart with Sade's Soldier of Love (#1) and Lady Gaga's The Fame (#2).
Other than Cash's previous American Recordings release, American VI: A Hundred Highways, which debuted in 2006 at the number one spot on Billboard's 200 Albums chart, Ain't No Grave is his only album to debut inside this chart's Top 5.
In addition, American VI: Ain't No Grave enters in the Top Ten in most international markets: #2 in Denmark, #3 in Norway, #4 in Holland, #5 in Ireland, #9 in the UK, and #10 in Switzerland. The album also debuted at #12 in New Zealand, #22 in Australia, and #29 in Greece.
Media reaction to American VI has been both stunning and emotional: "Producer Rick Rubin did save the best for last," wrote Entertainment Weekly, giving the album an "A" grade. People magazine cited Cash's performance as "a powerful presence to the end," while the Boston Globe wrote "Johnny Cash's final chapter is the most compelling. Rolling Stone summed things up with "Seven years after Johnny Cash's death, the vaults produce one more great album."
American VI: Ain't No Grave was recorded in the months leading up to Cash's passing on September12, 2003. The songs were drawn from all over the musical landscape and from various eras, and include Sheryl Crow's moving "Redemption Day," close Cash friend Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times," "Can Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound" by Tom Paxton, Bob Nolan's "Cool Water," the hopeful "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" by Ed McCurdy, J.H. Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes's "Satisfied Mind," Queen Lili'uokalani's song of farewell "Aloha Oe," and the never before heard Cash original, "I Corinthians: 15:55," written over the last three years of his life.