Fittingly, the last record by American treasure Johnny Cash will be released on the 4th of July. Much of 'American V: A Hundred Highways,' Cash's last go-round with producer Rick Rubin, was recorded between the death of Cash's wife, June Carter Cash, in May 2003 and his own death that September.

Cash was in failing health throughout the recording process. "Johnny said that recording was his main reason for being alive," Rubin said. "He always wanted to work. Every morning when he'd wake up, he would call the engineer and tell him if he was physically up to working that day."

Like the other 'American' recordings, the first of which came out in 1994 and set in motion a Cash renaissance, 'A Hundred Highways' features stark cover versions of reflective songs, not all of them country -- in this case, Gordon Lightfoot's 'If You Could Read My Mind' and Bruce Springsteen's 'Further on (Up the Road),' to name a pair. It also features the last two songs Cash himself ever wrote, 'I Came to Believe' and 'Like the 309.'