As a boy I favored Johnny Cash records largely because he sang about trains (Wreck of the Old 97, Orange Blossom Special) and because A Boy Named Sue struck me as funny. For much of my life since then I haven’t really followed him or his work, but hearing I’ve Been Everywhere recently got me interested in him again.
American IV: The Man Comes Around is darkly powerful, stark, almost foreboding in its overall sound. His voice is craggy, worn, and full of a lifetime of experience. And yet in the midst of what, from any other artist might be a nihilistic message, there is a thread of hope, of a light at the end of it all.