Sean Curnyn reviews the new, posthumously-released Johnny Cash album, American VI: Ain’t No Grave:
We may forget, because of his tremendous presence, both on stage and in the arena of memory, that he was a man practicing a profession. If anyone ever seemed like the proverbial force of nature, it was Johnny Cash. Yet his thunderous sound with voice and guitar, his imposing manner and profile, and all the elements of what you could fairly call his shtick were in the end tools to a purpose beyond the mere acquisition of attention. While lesser performers employ that shtick only to that end, Cash directed his gifts towards expressing the sentiments of the song which he was singing at any given time. Whether performing his own classic tune like “I Walk The Line” or “I Still Miss Someone,” or a gospel number like “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” Cash would put it across with a clarity and an honesty that left a listener no room for doubt. Cash’s delivery was always unmistakable; the song, in his hands, was unmissable.