Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread
“A feather’s not a bird, The rain is not the sea, A stone is not a mountain, But a river runs through me”. With these words, Rosanne Cash establishes the theme of her wonderful new album. Individually, each of us is very small. Almost imperceptible. But, however small we might be, we each share something with many others. And together that makes us much bigger. On her two previous albums, it was the sense of family that made her strong, even in the face of loss. With audio clips of her father talking to her as a child on Black Cadillac and with an album of cover versions of songs that he recommended to her, strength clearly came from close by. Here, the source is much wider. For one, the family is extended. ‘Etta’s Song’ remembers Marshall Grant, former band member and close friend of her father, and also a sort of surrogate father to Rosanne after Johnny passed away. But the real inspiration is the south itself. As she winds her way through the land, the songs are full of names and places. Biloxi, Tallahatchie Bridge, and Memphis again and again. The result isn’t a travelogue, but a journey. And it’s one that’s perfectly complemented by the music. The temptation in today’s country is to genre hop. A little rockabilly here. Some rocking blues there. But this is a very steady album. One that follows its own course. There are ebbs and flows along the way, but there’s no place for histrionic balladry or other musical excess. And throughout both the playing and the arrangement are superb. The licks are just right. On The River And The Thread Rosanne Cash has perfected her sound. And she hasn’t done it alone. Individually, she’s just one more country-flecked singer. Together, with her family, her home and her land, she is an artist.