During the noon hour I went down and bought some CD’s. I wasn’t expecting to purchase Johnny Cash’s last recording American V: A Hundred Highways. However, it was on sale. It hasn’t been just the recent tribute or reverence to Cash that caused me to buy it. No, I have always enjoyed his work. I guess it was the influences of my uncles’ music tastes that largely contributed to my appreciation. They listened to a lot of Nashville music: Cash, Kristofferen, Jennings, Nelson, Horton and even Elvis. I would add Haggard to that group, but I don’t know if he really was a part of the Nashville scene.
There is something that resonates from Cash’s singing. I think it truth wrapped in experience. Thus, when I hear him sing Rose of my Heart on this record (it was written by Hugh Moffat, but sounds so much as Cash had crafted it himself), it imparts such a presence of Cash in the last days of June Carter’s life. The intensity of the testimony of his love for her is so real. You will not find any lyrics with this album. So listen you must.
Rick Rubin writes how when hey completed this album, and were getting set to record American VI that there was a confidence coming from Cash that all was well. He was out of the hospital and was looking forward to recording again. I have heard of stories of couples whose marriage has been so tight that with the passing of one, heartbreak usually claims the other in short time. I would only speculate that perhaps this was the case.
He sings, “if you are feeling cold, let my love warm you up.” Only a man who has such an intense love for someone could say that with meaning. Intense love comes from living and sharing it.