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CD REVIEW: ROSANNE CASH – The River & The Thread

| 24 October 2014 | Reply


Label: Blue Note Records

Release Date: January 14, 2014

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Sometime a good cleanse is needed – getting back to basics and exposing the roots can be good for the soul and musical palate.  The latest, and first in five years, from Rosanne Cash provides just such a cleanse.  “A Feather’s Not A Bird” kicks this disc off and it does so with power and conviction that help cross genres.  The vocals are rich and combine well with the different stringed instruments as the first piece of fabric that comprises this disc is laid out and ready to be stitched.  “The Sunken Lands” brings a folkish groove to the disc and nicely offsets the Americana feel of the previous track.  The first two songs are mapping out the course for the rest of the disc, and the trip is going to be great.  “Modern Blue” gives the disc a rocking vibe that shows the songstress’ ability to shake up the expectations and deliver the goods and proving there are more ways to the destination than a straight line.  “The Long Way Home” opens with a simple rhythmic guitar riff that slowly builds, as the song unfolds with Ms. Cash’s emotive vocals.  “Night School” is a simple track that is elevated by the emotionally strained vocals that dance lightly against the acoustic guitars and powerful bass lines.  “When The Master Calls The Roll” is an older unfinished track that Rosanne revisited and recorded with an all-star ‘choir’ (that includes Rodney Crowell, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, and Tony Joe White among others) assisting with background and enhancing vocals.  This historically-influenced song was inspired by her own ancestry and the Civil War.

“Etta’s Tune” is a beautiful ode to Etta Grant (widow of Tennessee Two bassist Marshal Grant) that utilizes equal parts Rosanne’s lush vocals, colorful lyrics, and a beautiful accompaniment to tell this story from the heart.  The Civil Wars John Paul White lends his voice to the harmony vocals.  “Tell Heaven” is another piece of story-telling gold that graces this disc.  The simplistic approach of guitars and vocals that opens the track adds another diverse cloth to the mix that is being woven together on this collection.  “World Of Strange Design” recalls sounds from Rosanne’s past and her own influences and inspiration.  The gospel-tinged track adds depth and shows even more diversity than experienced previously on this disc.  Listen closely for slide guitar performed by Derek Trucks on this gem.  “50,000 Watts” is a musically uplifting track that features a cool harmony vocal carried through the verse and into the chorus.  The guitars, drums, bass, and piano mix well and give this track a powerful soundtrack.  Closing the disc, “Money Road” provides the final swatch of music to be stitched together and the smoky vocals give the disc its final piece of material fro this patchwork collection that has a common thread woven through the different songs… the American South and its influences not only in music, but in each of us.

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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