The River & the Thread, by Rosanne Cash

This is Rosanne Cash's first collection of original material in eight years. The daughter of country-music royalty, Cash is done writing songs about her rebellious youth and her traumatic marriage to Rodney Crowell.

Although she has been living in Manhattan for 18 years with her husband, the record's producer and guitarist John Leventhal, the songs and stories they tell are rooted in the deep South. From Memphis to New Orleans along Dylan's Highway 61, Cash wrote the lyrics and Leventhal created the melodies, and to say they made beautiful music together is an understatement.

Opener "A Feather's Not a Bird" has a clinging hook and easy-listening lyric — "A feather's not a bird/ the rain is not the sea/ A stone is not a mountain/ but the river runs through me" — which is sung over a Fogarty-flavored gumbo-rock backbeat. "Modern Blue" is a signature Cash, country-rock love song — "Will you still be there when I round the curve/ Will you hold my hand when I lose my nerve?" "The Long Way Home" is a haunting memory about her late dad. And “50,000 Watts” is a bluesy, shuffling duet she sings with Cory Chisel. The standout country-classic story-song is "Etta's Tune," which is a melodic, guitar-driven folk song with a curious opening line: "What's the temperature darling?" (It’s something one of her dad's band mates used to say to his wife each morning when she awoke.)

With impeccable sound and production values, River & Thread is another keeper in the Cash-family catalog.

Album: The River & the Thread
Artist: Rosanne Cash
Label: Blue Note
Songs: (1) A Feather's Not a Bird (2) The Sunken Lands (3) Etta's Tune (4) Modern Blue (5) Tell Heaven (6) The Long Way Home (7) World of Strange Design (8) Night School (9) 50,000 Watts (10) When the Master Calls the Role (11) Money Road

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