It’s no secret that Johnny Cash is one of the OGs of exposing country music to a much broader audience, with his incredibly deep storytelling, his larger than life on-stage persona, along with his tumultuous personal life.
We’re talking truly the definition of a transcendent artist.
Although the Man In Black saw a lot of his success during those times, he’s also very well-known, especially among folks who wouldn’t quite consider themselves hardcore country music fans, for his outstanding American album sessions, produced by Rick Rubin, which featured a massive mixture of his favorite covers, as well as his own songs.
But speaking of the American sessions, one of the most iconic projects from that large body of work was American VI: Ain’t No Grave, which was released on this date back in 2010.
The album was one of the last projects Cash ever made, as it was mostly recorded in the summer of 2003, which was the same time he recorded American V: A Hundred Highways (2006), right before his death at 71 years old.
However, those recordings that wound up on American VI: Ain’t No Grave were kept quiet for a number of years, and eventually brought to us on February 23rd, 2010.
The album boasted a number of stellar songs, but most notably the gospel hit “Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down).”
Originally written in 1934 by Claude Ely while he was sick with tuberculosis at just 12 years old, the song was recorded by a number of artists and used in a number of movies. However, Johnny Cash’s version was also used as The Undertaker’s entrance song, and featured in Django Unchained, Westworld, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
The album saw a ton of success, peaking at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, and number two on the US Top Country Albums chart, and was a hit album worldwide, cracking the top five in several different countries.
The studio musicians included Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, as well as Scott and Seth Avett of Avett Brothers.
Needless to say, this is one that will never get old.