American Recordings won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Johnny Cash is back and better than ever. The legendary Man In Black is now recording for a modern rock label, and is being produced by hard-core rap/rock guru Rick Rubin–and the results are startling. Spare and stripped to the bone, American Recordings is Johnny Cash at his artistic zenith. An original acoustic ballad, the opening “Delia’s Gone” is a watershed accomplishment. Wryly capturing the art of the death ballad, it presents a thoroughly textured dramatic piece, both horrifying and humorous. The same can be said for Cash’s droll reading of Loudon Wainwright’s “The Man Who Could Not Cry.” An extremely religious man, Johnny includes several songs dealing with themes of redemption, righteousness and spiritual salvation. Sandwiched between those two songs is a character-rich, eclectic collection of material by writers like Leonard Cohen, British rocker/ex-son-in-law Nick Lowe, Tom Waits, death-metal god Glenn Danzig, and Cash himself. With his resounding baritone–which is in the best form of his long career–and restricted guitar technique, Cash is the centerpiece, creating a sound that is uniquely American–proud, solitary, nearly broken, yet defiant. Johnny Cash, alone with a single guitar, is commanding in his dry, unencumbered intensity. American Recordings reaffirms his unique musical prowess, and presents his glorious shadowy skills to a new generation.