Legendary singer/songwriter/entertainer Johnny Cash‘s critically acclaimed American Recordings series will soon be available as a vinyl box set. Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will bring Cash’s complete American Recordings to vinyl, with a box set to release March 24.
Even during his career’s twilight years, Cash’s creative spirit and work ethic never tired. His work with producer Rick Rubin to create the American Recordings series in the 1990s-2000s cemented Cash’s creative legacy, and added a rewarding musical coda to a career that gave the world classics including “I Walk The Line,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”
The box set includes all six albums in the series: American Recordings (1994), American Recordings II: Unchained (1996), American Recordings III: Solitary Man (2000), American Recordings IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), American Recordings V: A Hundred Highways (2006), and American Recordings VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010).
In 1994, Cash’s first American Recordings project earned him a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk album. In 1997, Unchained earned Cash the Best Country Album Grammy honor. Cash had teamed with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for the project, which featured cover versions of Beck’s “Rowboat,” Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage,” as well as “The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea” written by June, Anita, Helen and Mother Maybelle Carter.
In 2000, Cash teamed again with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers for American III: Solitary Man. Cash’ rendition of “Solitary Man” brought the singer another Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. 2002’s The Man Comes Around is the last album released by Cash before his death in 2003. The project earned a CMA Award for Album of the Year, while the project’s “Give My Love To Rose” earned a Grammy for Best Country Male Vocal Performance. It was Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” along with its unvarnished, somber video, that stood as a defining snapshot of Cash’s later career and final months. “Hurt” earned a 2003 Grammy award for Best Short Form Video and 2003 Country Music Association for Single of the Year, and Music Video of the Year.
Cash died in 2003 from complications with diabetes.
American V: A Hundred Highways was released post-humously in 2006, with material recorded from 2002-2003. It featured Cash’s last original song, “Like the 309.” The last project in the series, 2010’s American VI: Ain’t No Grave, featured songs recorded during the American V: A Hundred Highways sessions. Among the tracks are “Redemption Day,” (penned by Sheryl Crow), and “Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound” by Tom Paxton.
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