Again, Cash and Rubin assemble a mix of songs penned by Cash, traditional material, and some more contemporary offerings. Country music past is represented by a cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which features a guest vocal by Nick Cave. Fiona Apple sings with Cash on Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and Don Henley guests on his own tune, “Desperado.”
Other tunesmiths covered include Trent Reznor (“Hurt”), Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore (“Personal Jesus”), Sting (“I Hung My Head”) and John Lennon and Paul McCartney (“In My Life”).
Cash penned four of the songs himself, including a reprise of his classic “Give My Love to Rose,” and the new title cut. “It’s a gospel song,” Cash sideman Marty Stuart said of the song. “It is the most strangely marvelous, wonderful, gothic, mysterious, Christian thing that only God and Johnny Cash could create together.”
Among the musicians who appear on the record are Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante, Beck’s guitarist Smokey Hormel, Billy Preston, drummer Joey Waronker (R.E.M.), Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and bluegrass/country pickers Randy Scruggs and Marty Stuart.
Cash and Rubin first began working together on 1994’s American Recordings, a solo acoustic recording which featured covers of songs by Nick Lowe, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Glenn Danzig and others.
American IV: The Man Comes Around track listing:
The Man Comes Around
Give My Love to Rose
Bridge Over Troubled Water
I Hung My Head
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
In My Life
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
The Streets of Laredo
Tear Stained Letter
We’ll Meet Again