American V: A Hundred Highways

American V: A Hundred Highways
Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released July 4, 2006 (2006-07-04)
Recorded May 2003–September 2003 at Recording Americans Studios
Length 42:45
Language English
Label American and Lost Highway
Producer Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash chronology
Personal File
American V: A Hundred Highways
American VI: Ain't No Grave
American series chronology
American V: A Hundred Highways
American VI: Ain't No Grave

American V: A Hundred Highways is the 93rd overall album and a posthumous album by Johnny Cash released on July 4, 2006. As the title implies, it is the fifth entry in Cash's American series. Like its predecessors, American V: A Hundred Highways is produced by Rick Rubin and released on Rubin's American Recordings record label via Lost Highway Records, as they currently distribute country releases from the American Recordings label. It was certified Gold on August 18, 2006 by the RIAA.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link
Robert Christgau link
Pitchfork Media(7.8/10) link
Rolling Stone
Slant Magazine link

Track listing

  1. "Help Me" (Larry Gatlin) – 2:51
    Previously recorded by Kris Kristofferson for Jesus Was a Capricorn (1972) Originally recorded by Johnny Cash for "The Gospel Road" (1973) on which it was titled "Help".
  2. "God's Gonna Cut You Down" (Traditional) – 2:38
    Previously recorded by Odetta for Sings Ballads and Blues (1956), by Elvis Presley for How Great Thou Art (1967) (as "Run On"), and by The Blind Boys of Alabama (as "Run On for a Long Time") for Spirit of the Century (2001)
  3. "Like the 309" (Johnny Cash) – 4:35
    According to Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn (2013), this was the last song written by Cash and it was recorded during Cash's final day in a recording studio before his death a few weeks later.
  4. "If You Could Read My Mind" (Gordon Lightfoot) – 4:30
    Originally recorded by Lightfoot for Sit Down Young Stranger (1970)
  5. "Further On Up the Road" (Bruce Springsteen) – 3:25
    Originally recorded by Springsteen for The Rising (2002)
  6. "On the Evening Train" (Hank Williams) – 4:17
  7. "I Came to Believe" (Johnny Cash) – 3:44
    This song was previously recorded by Cash in the 1980s during the recording sessions that would ultimately result in the posthumous 2014 release Out Among the Stars.
  8. "Love's Been Good to Me" (Rod McKuen) – 3:18
    Recorded by Frank Sinatra for A Man Alone & Other Songs of Rod McKuen (1969) and many others
  9. "A Legend in My Time" (Don Gibson) – 2:37
    Originally recorded by Gibson for Sweet Dreams (1960) and Roy Orbison for Lonely and Blue (1961)
  10. "Rose of My Heart" (Hugh Moffatt) – 3:18
    Written in 1981 or 1982 and recorded by many artists, including Moffat for Troubadour (1989)
  11. "Four Strong Winds" (Ian Tyson) – 4:34
    Previously recorded by Ian and Sylvia, John Denver, Neil Young, and many others
  12. "I'm Free from the Chain Gang Now" (Lou Herscher, Saul Klein) – 3:00
    Originally recorded by Cash for The Sound of Johnny Cash (1962)

Song information

As with the other American series albums, the album includes covers, originals, and a re-recording of a song. The originals on this album are "I Came to Believe" and "Like the 309", the latter of which was the last song Cash ever wrote before passing away.[1] Recorded on August 21, 2003, "Like the 309" was the next-to-last song Cash ever recorded; the last being "Engine 143" which was recorded for a Carter Family tribute album produced by John Carter Cash.[2]

The album takes its name from a lyric on the track "Love's Been Good to Me" by Rod McKuen; the opening verse begins (emphasis added):

I have been a rover
I have walked alone
Hiked a hundred highways
Never found a home

Future releases

The liner notes of Unearthed, a box set composed of outtakes from the first four entries in Cash's American series, claim "around 50" songs were recorded during the American V sessions before Cash's death on September 12, 2003. However, to date only two albums worth of material have been released, including American VI: Ain't No Grave, which was released in February 2010. In March 2014, Cash's son John Carter Cash, promoting the release of Out Among the Stars, a collection of recently unearthed recordings from the early 1980s, confirmed that "three or four albums" worth of unreleased material exists from the American sessions, with Rubin confirming that at least one additional album -- a follow-up to Unearthed -- is planned for future release.[3]


Cash engineer David "Fergie" Ferguson (assisted by Jimmy Tittle) and Rubin oversaw the completion of the recordings. Other musicians on the album include keyboardist Benmont Tench and guitarists Mike Campbell, Smoky Hormel, Matt Sweeney and Jonny Polonsky.


Additional personnel

Chart performance

American V: A Hundred Highways topped the Billboard 200 with the album. It was his first No. 1 album since 1969's Johnny Cash at San Quentin with 88,000 copies sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Chart (2006) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 1
U.S. Billboard 200 1
Canadian Albums Chart 4


  1. - EW review: Johnny Cash's brilliant finale - Jun 27, 2006
  2. Robert Hilburn, Johnny Cash: The Life. (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2013), p. 624
  3. "Johnny Cash: 'four or five more albums in the works', says his son". The Guardian. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2015.

External links

Preceded by
Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship by India.Arie
Billboard 200 number-one album
July 16–22, 2006
Succeeded by
Now 22 by Various Artists
Preceded by
Taking the Long Way by Dixie Chicks
Top Country Albums number-one album
July 22 – August 4, 2006
Succeeded by
If You're Going Through Hell by Rodney Atkins
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