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Johnny Cash

American V: A Hundred Highways

Just like his legacy, Cash's latest CD is filled with loss, hope, love and uncertainty.
Just like his legacy, Cash's latest CD is filled with loss, hope, love and uncertainty.
The latest installment of Johnny Cash's epic American series, American V: A Hundred Highways, is the most poignant, cohesive album in the collection to date. Released two and a half years after the singer's death, the introspective American V centers on spirituality and mortality. The opening cover of Larry Gatlin's "Help Me" is a plaintive, minimalist guitar-and-string ballad that finds Cash calling upon the Lord to ease his loneliness, while "Like the 309" is a juke-joint mosey that recounts his health crises in the final years of his life. A cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Further On (Up the Road)" is the high point of the record, with its lyrics of redemption and haunting country-folk melody. The Tex-Mex-infused "Rose of My Heart" and the tender folk ballad "Four Strong Winds" are both moving, poetic love songs in which Cash's voice quakes and quivers with longing. A predominantly acoustic production, American V is simultaneously filled with loss and hope, faith and uncertainty, making for a truly fitting epilogue to the life of a legend.
 
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