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Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread

February 5, 2014

Rosanne Cash The River

I am always amazed that a recording artist can produce a masterpiece 35 years into their career.  Rosanne Cash has just done that. Cash has always produced high quality work and already has a few masterpieces under her belt, so I guess I should not be surprised.

If you are not familiar with Cash’s voice, it is distinctive without being odd.  A touch of country, folk and pop.  She has always surrounded herself with top-notch musicians and great arrangements and this album continues that tradition. The music behind her voice and lyrics is absolutely gorgeous and the sound of the recording is pristine.  She conveys emotion with phrasing and tone – for me the lyrics are secondary – she could be singing in another language and she would get her point across.

Cash’s art has been an open book: the good, bad and the ugly of emotions and relationships. This album is more guarded, but no less emotional.  More a novel than a memoir. Not quite a concept album, it does have a consistent them of a road trip.  Cash is traveling and uses travel metaphors to explore her middle-aged soul.

Cash has been alt-country before that was even a gene.  She is clearly out of the country tradition, but she does not let that tradition own her.  She is not pop or rock either.  Her music is seeking – it is contemplating.  It is adult music – joy and melancholy at the same time.  I guess she sings truth.

I have been savoring this album for 3 weeks now and continue to find new pleasures in it.  I have a feeling this will make the top-ten list for 2014.  Bravo to the Blue Note label – they have reinvented themselves from a jazz label to a curator of sophisticated rootsy pop.

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From → Music Reviews

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