Entertainment Weekly - 12/29/00, p.140Ranked #8
in EW's Top 10 Albums of 2000 - "...These songs have rarely sounded so authentic, thanks to arrangements that are spare but never colorless and a voice that;s deep in more ways than one."
Q - 1/01, p.91
Included in Q's "50 Best Albums of 2000".
Q - 12/00, pp.118-94 stars out of 5
- "...A regal comeback. It's a mostly acoustic affair...featuring unlikely covers....as resonant and dignified a covers album as you'll ever hear."
CMJ - 1/08/01, p.46
Included in CMJ's "Year's Best Triple A Albums" from 2000.
CMJ - 10/16/00, p.26
"...Pure goosebump material....[His] voice is commanding and cavernous in ever more tangible ways..."
No Depression - 1-2/01, pp.82-4
"...It's a powerful disc....the key to its impact is in the reimagination [of songs] to make them [his]..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.64Ranked #17
in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "Makes rock songs sound like something as old as the hills."
Mojo (Publisher) - 11/00, p.102
"...The choice is igenious, their themes of survival, toughness, self-destructyion, sin, redemption and love adding up to an autobiography....his voice is sober, honest and defiant..."
NME (Magazine) - 12/30/00, p.78Ranked #32
in NME's "Top 50 Albums Of The Year".
NME (Magazine) - 10/21/00, p.439 out of 10
- "...What is remarkable about this is its punishing intensity....stripped down, vivid and pure, emotionally naked stuff from a 68-year-old man who just 12 months ago was very seriously ill..."
Personnel: Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard (vocals, guitar); Sheryl Crow (vocals, accordion); Tom Petty (vocals, organ); Will Oldham, June Carter Cash (vocals); Norman Blake, Mike Campbell, Larry Perkins, Randy Scruggs, Marty Stuart (guitar); Laura Cash (fiddle); Benmont Tench (piano, harmonium, organ).
Recorded at The Cash Cabin Studio, Hendersonville, Tennessee and The Akademie Mathematique Of Philosophical Sound Research, Los Angeles, California.
Includes liner notes by Johnny Cash.
"Solitary Man" won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. AMERICAN III was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
The Man in Black shows hints of gray on American III: Solitary Man, his first studio album since being interrupted by a series of serious illnesses in 1997. While the inevitability of aging has been the downfall of many of his contemporaries, Johnny Cash's dark convictions and powerful presence have gone from rough hardwood to solid stone. The stark beauty of his 1994 release American Recordings and the warm, friendly collaborations on 1996's Unchained combine to create two distinct moods: one of living-room jam sessions with invited friends, and another of stark solo (and near-solo) songs highlighting Cash's years and stories. Partnering once again with Tom Petty, the two join together on Petty's own "I Won't Back Down" and the Neil Diamond-penned title track. Cash also lays his lonesome hands on U2's "One" and reunites with fellow outlaw Merle Haggard on the stubborn "I'm Leavin' Now." These duets and well-known covers show an inviting side of Johnny Cash. But the real highlights of the album are those reminiscent of his American Recordings songs; they feature just the man and his guitar, with nothing else to clutter the story. The creaks and despair of the vaudeville song "Nobody" tell of a man who has become hardened by his solitude, while the Palace hymn "I See a Darkness" soars with the passion of a thousand gospel choirs, even though there are only two men singing. Although at times it is difficult to hear past Tom Petty's growl or Sheryl Crow's young harmonies in the more popular songs Cash covers, these obscure prison songs and country ballads sound as honest and heartfelt as his own compositions. At age 68, his warm baritone may waver but his passion never does. ~ Zac Johnson