The tremor in Johnny Cash's unmistakable baritone betrays the frailty of a man on the home stretch. Yet Cash remains a powerful interpretive stylist on the beautifully stark Solitary Man (out Tuesday), affecting a death-cheating sneer for Nick Cave's Mercy Seat and swaggering with bird-flipping brashness alongside Merle Haggard on I'm Leavin' Now.
Perhaps even more impressive is Cash's ability to wring the soulful grace out of Bono's One and make Neil Diamond's Solitary Man sound like his theme song. It's still way too early to count him out. TP