Now that Cash himself has been "unchained" I thought I'd give my comments on this album. I was completely swayed by American IV and became a huge Cash fan, before that I was very unfamiliar with his music. Now I have 18 albums and 2 Man In Black Box Sets, and have been listening constantly to Cash's music since Jan03. Of the four american series albums, it is very difficult to choose favorites. The last was the most emotional and impacting, and this album is the most fun. If you need somewhere to start with Cash, and aren't a huge country fan, this is the best album. Tom Petty and co. do an excellent job of giving this album some major spunk and they turn in some great tunes. Rusty cage may be the absolute hardest Cash song recorded, it is ominous and bleeds aggression. Soundgarden's lead singer is quoted as saying that no one ever said anything about his songwriting on Rusty Cage and its lyrics before Cash covered it. And the playing on Rusty Cage perfectly captures the intensity and gravity of the song without having to be overplayed, something heavy metal bands could learn from. The other upbeat highlights include Sea of Heartbreak, Country Boy (which makes me want to try and sing every lyric right along with Cash), Kneeling Drunkard's Plea, I Never Picked Cotton, and I've Been Everywhere. The rest of the album is exceptional, displaying Cash's heartfelt delivery of great spiritual songs. If I could buy only 3 Cash albums, it would be this one, Orange Blossom Special... forget it, I would get them all. But this one is definitely a highlight of Cash's career.