American V: A Hundred Highways review by Johnny Cash

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  • Released: Jul 4, 2006
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (41 votes)
Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways
3

Sound — 9
A Hundred Highways is the fifth album that the Man in Black was working on with producer Rick Rubin for the American series of albums. It continues along the same lines with a mixture of cover songs and Cash originals. This album, however, has a special poignancy as it was the album Cash was working on when he died. The vocals were the only part Cash recorded, the instruments were recorded after his death. Fittingly this is an album that never strays too far from the melancholy, acheived using the stripped down sound that Cash was renowned for. From the vocals it is clear that Cash was not long for this earth during recordings, on some tracks his voice is weak and hoarse and yet on others the power of his voice still shines through.

Lyrics — 9
Unlike previous American albums that dealt with a diverse range of topics this recording is more limited in scope. It focuses around mediations on, unsurprisingly, Love, Death and God. The songs on this album show a man coming to terms with the futility of human life, a man who has put his days of youthful troublemaking behind him and is ready to reflect on his life. The album follows an almost natural progression of thoughts from desperation and despair (Help Me) through finding solace in religion (I Came to Believe) and onto mourning for lost love ones before ending on songs of redemption (I'm Free from the Chaingang Now). Well in keeping with the artist's faith. The album is also noteworthy for including the last song ever written by Johnny Cash: like the 309 where he invisions life as a train journey which inevitably must end.

Overall Impression — 9
Posthumous works can often be disapointing, the works of greeding families wanting to make the most of their deceased relatives body of work. Thankfully this is not the case for A Hundred Highways. The care that has clearly gone into the album shows that it is more a labour of love than a badly timed cash-in. This album stays true to the spirit that Johnny Cash embodied while he was alive and is a fitting tribute to one of the legends of our time. An album that has the power to move the listener to tears but that leaves the listener all the better for it. A glorious album.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Joe Rocket
    These songs and this artist will help me in my coming to terms with the of family members, and with my own mortality.
    rollingstones
    this album is amazing. I am a huge johnny cash fan and i bought it the first day it came out. i was defiently npot dissapointed. I think it is one of the best albums he has ever done.
    Joe Rocket
    These songs and this artist will help me in my own coming to terms with the of family members, and with my own mortality.... (Key words were missing in the previous post) Johnny Cash is part of your roots, no matter what you play or pretend to invent.
    Raptor404
    I agree with all on this one. brought it when it first came out and was amazed.I have only recently (past 2 years) become interested in country music and found it an escape from main stream, run of the mill music.After listening to Johnny Cash I was hooked on country music (much to my grandfathers delight!!) Johnny Cash is a true legend and will be missed by every one.
    darkiii
    i too only "found" johhny a few time ago, like half an year or something when i heard the music "hurt" , and well, i never like country music before, but i started to enjoy listening to old cash musics. About this album, well, when i ear it i was impressed cuz the producers work on the album without cash, and they manage to make such a nice songs. really enjoy it.
    Rigor_Mortis
    Johnny is awesome. and i love His last effort aswell as his latest gospel release. i grew up listening to his music. i have deep respect for it and the man who made it. He sang like he meant business and meant what he sang. R.I.P
    DaBlackE
    I read that the song "Like the 309" was the last song Johnny Cash wrote. Great album, great man and he'll be missed.
    bigal09
    i dont care what anyone will ever say about johnny cash he is one of america's greatest singers and will be missed long live the man in black.....\m/
    Julesfromyo
    this had to have been one of Cash's greatest albums even though he shows his age in the recordings. i agree with your rating
    jriebow
    Brings me to tears of both sadness and happiness. J.R. Cash is the best there is. Do you think in 50 years people will remember tim mcgraw, toby keith, or any of the "new" country? Nope! But I bet you they'll still be listening to Cash.
    Shreddy Krueger
    CASH FOREVER, thats all I can say about that, he was never a legend while he lived, he was an artist until the day he died!!!!! A legend is someone who is long after there time, and is done working!!!!! Cash was working until he was to weak to continue. Now that he is gone in body, he can now be considered a legend! He may be gone in body, but never in spirit! His words and works are both going to live on past my lifetime, I'm sure!