JOHNNY CASH: American III: Solitary Man: CD

May 14, 2001

CDIt's a cold dreary rain-drenched day outside the frost-tinted windows of this inner sanctum I call home. And it effortlessly reflects a drab colorless world of bleak black-and-white motionless imagery that seems all-at-once uninspired, semi-detached, fragmented, and none-too-eager to greet any hapless wayward individual wandering the desolate trash-strewn streets of this tired old town on such a miserable winter afternoon. So I restlessly cradle a can of lukewarm beer while intently listening to these solemn spirit-enriching songs of solitude, the sometimes disquieting loneliness of life, and eventual redemptive hope via the proverbial effervescently shining light at the end of salvation's tunnel. "American III: Solitary Man" is an all-acoustic slice of rural Americana, a stark somber soundscape of haunting melodies that indelibly touches a man deep in the furthermost recesses of his soul. It aurally conjures rustic images of simplistic domesticity in a pastoral countryside sprawl, beat-up old run-down pick-up trucks, festive Sunday picnics spent euphorically indulging in the soothing sun-splashed splendor of a gentle Spring breeze, history and heritage and unrelenting pride, native tribal Indian spirits ghost-dancing in the tall sinewy grass of the windswept High Plains region, a burnt-orange sun slowly setting on the barbed wire-ridden rugged terrain of the wild untamed West, and solitary frontiersmen tombstones basking in the ominous snow-speckled shadows of a moonlit winter's night. The sparse instrumentation (acoustic guitars and an occasional accordion, fiddle, piano, and organ) flawlessly complements the swaggering unfaltering voice (haggard, time-worn, and aged to perfection) of Mr. Cash, a picturesque voice as deep and dark as the bottomless depths of a coal mine and as rich and textured as freshly plowed fertile Tennessee soil. As always, his original compositions are pristinely saturated with down-to-earth country charm that's as idealistically inspirational as it is unique and entertaining. And he reverently takes a diverse assortment of songs from a vastly differentiating array of notable composers (Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, Bono, Nick Cave, and others) and skillfully crafts them into his own with an elegant touch of expertly chiselled clarity. Indeed, his inate aural ability to speak to and for the common man (no matter what race, color, or creed) has become his true lasting legacy, an indelible essence forever imprinted in the hearts and minds of those who recognize the message in his music. Ladies and gentlemen, the inimitable legendary Man In Black, Mr. Johnny Cash...

 –Roger Moser Jr. (American)