American VI: Ain’t No Grave
The final release in the American Recordings series, this set consummates the artistic renaissance that marked Johnny’s career during his last few years. The set includes covers of Sheryl Crow’s “Redemption Day,” Tom Paxton’s “Can’t Help but Wonder Where I’m Bound” and Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times,” along with one self-penned song, “1 Corinthians 15:5.” As with American V, the album’s minimal use of acoustic instruments lends it a sparse, mellow quality, and finds Johnny reflecting on his impending death and his spiritual faith. Lyrics like Ain’t no grave can hold my body down or I know it’s over but life goes on, and this old world will keep on turning come across as foreshadowing, and Johnny’s craggy voice, despite its deeply weathered and weary quality, still booms with conviction. Indeed, there will be no grave for the music of the Man in Black.