Yesterday marked the release of the last volume of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings series, VI. While the fourth volume is not likely to be surpassed, it would appear that volume six carries even more heft than usual – as if that were possible. The A/V Club puts it this way:
It’s no surprise that Ain’t No Grave is focused on death and loss. But as usual, Cash uses his Christian faith as the ultimate rebuttal to life’s disappointments. “Ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down,” Cash sings, as the musical setting of the traditional title track sounds ominous tones. Hope was his last act of defiance. The 10 songs on American VI find Cash sounding frail but determined, and the material doesn’t let him down. The one original, “I Corinthians 15:55,” uses a Bible verse (“Oh death, where is thy sting?”) to set the tone for the album: This isn’t ultimately about tearful goodbyes, but welcome departures and happy endings.