American VI: Ain't No Grave

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American VI: Ain't No Grave
Cash Ain't No Grave .jpg
Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released February 23, 2010
Recorded May 2003–September 2003
Length 32:21
Language English
Producer Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash chronology
The Legend of Johnny Cash Vol. II
American VI: Ain't No Grave
Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection

American VI: Ain't No Grave is an album by Johnny Cash, released posthumously on February 23, 2010, on American Recordings and Lost Highway Records.[1] Its release was three days prior to what would have been Cash's 78th birthday.[2] The album's music was recorded during the same sessions as American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) that took place during the final months of Cash's life. The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 54,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, American VI: Ain't No Grave received generally positive reviews from music critics.


Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 54,000 copies,[3] becoming Cash's third posthumous top-ten album in the U.S.[4] As of March 2014, the album has sold 250,000 copies in the US.[5]

In the United Kingdom, the album entered at number nine on the UK Albums Chart.[6] It has sold 62,000 in the UK as of March 2014.[5] American VI: Ain't No Grave also attained international chart success, charting within the top-ten of several other countries.[7]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[8]
The A.V. Club A[9]
Robert Christgau A[10]
The Daily Telegraph 5/5 stars[11]
The Independent 4/5 stars[12]
NME 4/10[13]
Pitchfork Media 5.6/10[14]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[15]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[16]
The Times 4/5 stars[17]

American VI received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 78, based on 19 reviews.[18] The Times writer Pete Paphides wrote that Cash's "most soulful performances on American VI are invested in Nashville standards".[17] Andy Gill of The Independent declared the album less strong than American V: A Hundred Highways, but maintains that this installment, "comes so close to those heights [that it] is cause for rejoicing."[12] The Washington Post‍ '​s Bill Friskics-Warren wrote that the album presents Cash as "an unwavering man of faith" and noted a "spiritual, even biblical quality to the record".[19] Los Angeles Times writer Ann Powers called it "Cash's hospice record" and lauded his musicianship.[20] MSN Music's Robert Christgau called the album "both the grimmest and the most hopeful" of "those nearness-of-death albums".[10] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said that "death remains the big subject on VI, and Rubin magnifies the drama."[21] The Daily Telegraph‍ '​s Andrew Perry dubbed it "Cash’s final, life-affirming masterpiece".[11]

In a mixed review, Slant Magazine's Jesse Cataldo wrote that "the angle imposed here is a double-edged sword, granting a too-strict formula for these songs to occupy, but also granting a greater measure of artistic freedom".[16] Pitchfork Media's Stephen M. Deusner criticized Rick Rubin's production, stating "Ain't No Grave isn't really Cash's farewell as much as it is Rubin's memorial mixtape".[14]

Although cited at the time as the final expected release of recordings from the American sessions (as had American V before it), in March 2014 Rubin indicated that at least one more album may be released.[22]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Ain't No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down)" (Claude Ely; credited as Traditional) – 2:53
    Originally recorded by Bozie Sturdivant in 1941;[23] Ely's version recorded in 1953 but composed in 1934[24]
  2. "Redemption Day" (Sheryl Crow) – 4:22
    Originally recorded by Crow for the album Sheryl Crow (1996)
  3. "For the Good Times" (Kris Kristofferson) – 3:22
    Originally recorded by Kristofferson for the album Kristofferson (1970) and performed by Elvis Presley on his live album As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972). Cash performed the song on an episode of The Johnny Cash Show in the early 1970s.
  4. "I Corinthians 15:55" (Johnny Cash) – 3:38
    Based on 1 Corinthians 15:55: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” One of Cash's final compositions, his handwritten notes regarding the song are reproduced in the CD insert booklet.
  5. "Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound" (Tom Paxton) – 3:26
    Originally recorded by Paxton for the album Ramblin' Boy (1964)
  6. "A Satisfied Mind" (Red Hayes, Jack Rhodes) – 2:48
    Originally recorded by Porter Wagoner in 1955
  7. "I Don't Hurt Anymore" (Don Robertson, Walter E. Rollins) – 2:45
    Originally recorded by Hank Snow in 1954 and also an R&B hit for Dinah Washington the same year
  8. "Cool Water" (Bob Nolan) – 2:53
    Originally written by Nolan in 1936; most famous version by The Sons of the Pioneers in 1948. Cash himself recorded a version for a 1982 TV special.
  9. "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" (Ed McCurdy) – 3:14
    Originally recorded by McCurdy in 1950. A live performance by Cash recorded in 1969 was released in 2002 on Johnny Cash at Madison Square Garden.
  10. "Aloha Oe" (Queen Lili'uokalani) – 3:00
    Originally written by Lili'uokalani in 1877; recorded by Elvis Presley in 1961 for Blue Hawaii



Chart (2010) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums[25] 22
Australian ARIA Top Country Albums[26] 2
Canadian Albums Chart[27] 4
Danish Album Chart [28] 2
German Album Chart [29] 3
Netherlands MegaCharts[25] 2
New Zealand Albums Chart[25] 12
Norwegian Albums Chart[25] 3
Swedish Albums Chart[30] 6
Swiss Music Charts[25] 10
UK Albums Chart[31] 9
U.S. Billboard 200[32] 3
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums[33] 2

End of year charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Position
Danish Albums Chart[34] 39
US Billboard Top Country Albums 37[35]


  1. ^ Dean Goodman (January 14, 2010). "Johnny Cash Releasing Another Posthumous Album". Billboard. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Last Johnny Cash American Recordings Album to Be Released in February". Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ Caulfield, Keith. Sade Clocks Third Week At No. 1 On Billboard 200. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  4. ^ Grein, Paul. Week Ending Feb. 28, 2010: Beyond The "Grave". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  5. ^ a b Phil Hebblethwaite (March 28, 2014). "How Johnny Cash became an even bigger star after his death". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ Sexton, Paul. Jason Derulo Scores First U.K. No. 1. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  7. ^ Album Performance: American VI: Ain't No Grave. acharts. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  8. ^ Jurek, Thom. "American VI: Ain't No Grave — Johnny Cash". Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  9. ^ Phipps, Keith (February 23, 2010). "Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain't No Grave". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide: American VI: Ain't No Grave". MSN Music: May 2010.
  11. ^ a b Andrew, Perry (February 18, 2010). "Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain’t No Grave, CD review". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Andy Gill (February 19, 2010). "Album: Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain't No Grave (American)". London: The Independent. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  13. ^ McNamee, Paul (March 5, 2010). "Album Review: Johnny Cash - 'American VI: Ain't No Grave' (Lost Highway)". NME (London). Retrieved March 24, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen M. Review: American VI: Ain't No Grave. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  15. ^ Rosen, Judy. "Johnny Cash — American VI: Ain't No Grave". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 26 February 2010. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b Cataldo, Jesse (February 22, 2010). "Johnny Cash — American VI: Ain't No Grave". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b Paphides, Peter (February 19, 2010). "Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain’t No Grave". The Times (London). Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  18. ^ American VI: Ain't No Grave (2010): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  19. ^ Friskics-Warren, Bill. Review: American VI: Ain't No Grave. The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  20. ^ Powers, Ann. Johnny Cash: The Hospice Sessions. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2010-05-02.
  21. ^ Kot, Greg (February 18, 2010). "Album review: Johnny Cash, 'American VI: Ain't No Grave'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 20 February 2010. Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Johnny Cash: 'four or five more albums in the works', says his son". The Guardian. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2015. 
  23. ^ Michael Stone and Brian Peters. "Reviews of the Library of Congress archives reissued on Rounder Records". RootsWorld Online World Music Magazine. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  24. ^ Radio Diaries (5 May 2011). "A Nephew's Quest: Who Was Brother Claude Ely?". National Public Radio. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  25. ^ a b c d e " — Johnny Cash — American VI: Ain't No Grave charts". Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Country Music Association of Australia: ARIA Top Country Albums (International)". ARIA Charts. Retrieved March 2, 2010. [dead link]
  27. ^ "Canadian Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  28. ^ Johnny Cash - American VI: Ain't No Grave. Retrieved on 2010-06-13.
  29. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche". Retrieved 2012-01-14. 
  30. ^ Swedish Albums Chart "Sverigetopplistan" Check |url= scheme (help). Retrieved March 5, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Chart Stats — Johnny Cash". Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Music Albums, Top 200 Albums & Music Albums Charts". Billboard. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Top Country Music, Country Music Albums & Country Music Artists Charts". Billboard. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Album 2010 Top-100". Danish Albums Chart (in Danish). Nielsen Music Control. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-01-29. 
  35. ^ "Best of 2010 - Top Country Albums". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 

External links[edit]