The first American Recordings album released by Johnny Cash came out in 1994. It was Cash's 81st studio release, but was the first in a series of albums all the way up until Cash's death that featured collaborations with famed producer Rick Rubin. This first release was simply titled CASH, but it came to be known as the American Recordings.
When Rubin approached Cash about making a record for his label, Cash was intrigued by the idea of returning to a very minimalistic style of production.
Rubin also exposed Cash to songs and writers that wouldn't normally be part of a typical Johnny Cash album. Songs like "The Wanderer" written by U2, "Rusty Cage" written by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden/Audioslave, Southern Accents" by Tom Petty, "I Hung My Head" by Sting, "Further Up the Road" by Bruce Springsteen, and "Hurt" by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. His cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man" won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
The record also has Johnny Cash originals like "The Man Comes Around" and "Give My Love To Rose" (this version won a Grammy). His cover of the traditional song "God's Gonna Cut You Down" won two.
The series also included some amazing collaborations. On American III: Solitary Man, Cash teams up with Tom Petty for an amazing cover of "I Won't Back Down". On American IV: The Man Comes Around, Fiona Apple joins Cash on Paul Simon's classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
American VI: Ain't No Grave released in 2010, but it was tracked in the same session as American V: A Hundred Highways in 2006, a few months before Cash's death.
It's the combination of the production style and the song choices that made the American Recordings series so special. They also returned Cash to pop icon status late in his career. They did more then just end cap his career. In many ways, this series boosted his legacy and allowed Cash to end his amazing career with almost as much impact as he had in the beginning. Cash received eighteen Grammys over his career. This series produced six of them. He received nine CMA's. This series produced three of them.
The Johnny Cash Ultimate American Recordings and House of Cash Bundle includes all six of the Johnny Cash American Recordings albums. They were released between 1994 - 2010. We also added The Legend of Johnny Cash, the first Johnny Cash greatest hits compilation featuring songs from his career at Sun Records, Columbia Records, and American Recordings.
Additionally, we've included the hardback edition of House of Cash: The Legacies of My Father, Johnny Cash, by his son, John Carter Cash. It's an amazing biography that shows the personal and public life of the Man in Black. The book contains all kinds of personal notes and artifacts from the Cash legacy.
B.T.R.C. - David W. Williams