These Tracks By Johnny Cash Will Haunt You, and That’s a Good Thing

I became a Johnny Cash fan in college. His Live at San Quentin CD was a regular on a hallmate’s stereo, and over the next few years, I came to appreciate the Man in Black’s musical simplicity and personal complexity.

In the decade before his death, he worked with Rick Rubin to record a series of albums. The American Recordings produced six albums (so far) with the first appearing in 1994 and the sixth appearing in 2010. Apparently, more is coming.

A lot of the tracks are re-workings of songs by other artists–some more classic, some more contemporary. There are several standouts among the recordings that are best described, I think, as haunting. His renditions of Hurt, God’s Gonna Cut You Down, Ain’t No Grave, and Personal Jesus make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

These recordings are worth a listen or several. I’ll leave you with an interesting comparison. First, watch the video for Nickelback’s “Rockstar”:

Now, watch the video for Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”

Compare and contrast. There’s probably a dissertation to be written there.

For more info, here are the Wikipedia pages on each of the American Recordings Albums:

American Recordings (album)

American II: Unchained

American III: Solitary Man

American IV: The Man Comes Around

American V: A Hundred Highways

American VI: Ain’t No Grave

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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