American III: Solitary Man

American III: Solitary Man

4.8 6
by Johnny Cash
     
 

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In the time since the release of his last album, Unchained, Johnny Cash's ongoing battle with life-threatening Shy-Drager syndrome has led many to assume that the Man in Black's days as a recording artist were over. But Cash has never been one to go down without a fight, and this impressive collection offers ample evidence of Cash's personal and musicalSee more details below

Overview

In the time since the release of his last album, Unchained, Johnny Cash's ongoing battle with life-threatening Shy-Drager syndrome has led many to assume that the Man in Black's days as a recording artist were over. But Cash has never been one to go down without a fight, and this impressive collection offers ample evidence of Cash's personal and musical resilience. Both the covers and the new Cash originals on Solitary Man share a mix of world-weariness and fierce defiance that are underlined by Cash's heartbroke baritone and spare guitar accompaniment. Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" is a fitting declaration of determination, while other songs make it clear that the fight hasn't been an easy one. U2's "One," Will Oldham's "I See a Darkness," Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat," and the bleak folk ballad "Mary of the Wild Moor" tell stories of wrenching loneliness and yearning, and Cash's iconic vocals drive their points home with haunting immediacy. Although the artist stands alone in many of the trials portrayed in these songs, he's got plenty of talented friends lending support on this album. Wife June Carter Cash is featured, as are Tom Petty, Merle Haggard, and Sheryl Crow, although Cash still casts such a large shadow that one will have to listen very closely to hear anyone else.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
The Man in Black shows hints of gray on American III: Solitary Man, his first studio album since being interrupted by a series of serious illnesses in 1997. While the inevitability of aging has been the downfall of many of his contemporaries, Johnny Cash's dark convictions and powerful presence have gone from rough hardwood to solid stone. The stark beauty of his 1994 release American Recordings and the warm, friendly collaborations on 1996's Unchained combine to create two distinct moods: one of living-room jam sessions with invited friends, and another of stark solo (and near-solo) songs highlighting Cash's years and stories. Partnering once again with Tom Petty, the two join together on Petty's own "I Won't Back Down" and the Neil Diamond-penned title track. Cash also lays his lonesome hands on U2's "One" and reunites with fellow outlaw Merle Haggard on the stubborn "I'm Leavin' Now." These duets and well-known covers show an inviting side of Johnny Cash. But the real highlights of the album are those reminiscent of his American Recordings songs; they feature just the man and his guitar, with nothing else to clutter the story. The creaks and despair of the vaudeville song "Nobody" tell of a man who has become hardened by his solitude, while the Palace hymn "I See a Darkness" soars with the passion of a thousand gospel choirs, even though there are only two men singing. Although at times it is difficult to hear past Tom Petty's growl or Sheryl Crow's young harmonies in the more popular songs Cash covers, these obscure prison songs and country ballads sound as honest and heartfelt as his own compositions. At age 68, his warm baritone may waver but his passion never does.
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
Though the Man in Black has rarely sounded blacker, producer Rick Rubin frames that deep-sea voice with harmonies and churchy organs, making for a dark-angel beauty of an album that's austere but welcoming.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/05/2002
Label:
Lost Highway
UPC:
0731458679226
catalogNumber:
586792
Rank:
18534

Tracks

  1. I Won't Back Down  - Johnny Cash
  2. Solitary Man  - Johnny Cash
  3. That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)  - Johnny Cash
  4. One  - Johnny Cash
  5. Nobody  - Johnny Cash
  6. I See a Darkness  - Johnny Cash
  7. The Mercy Seat  - Johnny Cash
  8. Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)  - Johnny Cash
  9. Field of Diamonds  - Johnny Cash
  10. Before My Time  - Johnny Cash
  11. Country Trash  - Johnny Cash
  12. Mary of the Wild Moor  - Johnny Cash
  13. I'm Leaving Now  - Johnny Cash
  14. Wayfaring Stranger  - Johnny Cash

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Johnny Cash   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Norman Blake   Guitar
Marty Stuart   Guitar
Merle Haggard   Guitar,Vocals
Tom Petty   Organ,Vocals
Mike Campbell   Guitar
Sheryl Crow   Accordion,Vocals
Benmont Tench   Organ,Piano,Harmonium
June Carter Cash   Vocals
Larry Perkins   Guitar
Randy Scruggs   Guitar
Will Oldham   Vocals
Laura Cash   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Johnny Cash   Producer
Edge   Composer
Bono   Composer
Adam Clayton   Composer
David Coleman   Art Direction
Richard Dodd   Engineer
David Ferguson   Engineer
Haven Gillespie   Composer
Larry Mullen   Composer
Rick Rubin   Producer
David Schiffman   Engineer
Eddy Schreyer   Mastering
Harry Beasley Smith   Composer
Billy Bowers   Digital Editing
D. Sardy   Engineer
John R. Cash   Arranger,Liner Notes,Adaptation
John Carter Cash   Arranger,Adaptation
Chuck Turner   Digital Editing
Traditional   Composer
Lou Robin   Management

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