Monday, January 6, 2014

Music Monday: The River and the Thread by Rosanne Cash

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge, from Blue Note Records, via Missing Piece PR, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.

My grqandfather was born and raised in Arkansas, so I was thrilled when the State of Arkansas and The Old State House Museum honored Rosanne Cash back in November, for her contributions to the development of Arkansas history and culture. 

If you hadn't heard- Rosanne has been working with Arkansas State University and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to restore her father's (Johnny Cash) boyhood home in Dyess, AR. 

Coming out next week is Rosanne's new album, The River & The Thread, (releasing January 14th).  If the image on the cover looks familiar to some of you, it is because it is taken from the Tallahatchie Bridge in Money, MS. You might also know it as the bridge from Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,”, and Rosanne uses it in the last song of the album, “Money Road”.  The final resting place of blues icon Robert Johnson, whose influence still reverberates through popular music, is also not far from the Tallahatchie Bridge. It’s a place that exerted an amazing pull on Rosanne as she embarked on her musical journey through the American South,  that this album shares with us.


Rosanne wrote the album’s 11 original songs with John Leventhal, who also served as producer, arranger and guitarist. The pair were joined in the studio by a cast of friends and fellow musicians who also have a deep affection for and/or roots in the South, including Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell (who also co-wrote one song), Amy Helm,Kris Kristofferson, Allison Moorer, John Prine, Derek Trucks, John Paul White (The Civil Wars), Tony Joe White and Gabe Witcher (The Punch Brothers.) With that wonderful bunch of freinds, you KNOW the album is going to be good, if not great, right?

Rosanne recently said "I didn’t grow up in the South, but both my parents were Southerners,” says Cash. “And I have such a profound connection to the South through them and the time I spent there and the people I know and love, that I really am proud to show that part of my soul in this record.”

And she does. Any Southerner, or child of Southerners, will recognize the emotion and soul of all the songs on this album.

Track Listing:

1.A Feather's Not A Bird- based on her first trip back south into Alabama, and then to Arkansas, I think in some ways this is my favorite song on the album- there is so much Southern soul and mystery on it 

2. The Sunken Lands- - this song was based on memories of her Grandmother Carrie Cash, and you can feel the love and respect for her in this song 

3.  Etta's Tune - based on memories of her father's long time bassist Marshall Grant and his wife of 65 years, Emma, who were lifelong family friends, it is a tale of love, waiting and longing.

4. Modern Blue - a modern take on a blues song of love and being apart. It is a great duet. 

5. Tell Heaven- this one may remind others of their grandparents, and their call to give your troubles to God and he will sort it out.

 6. The Long Way Home- the second most haunting song on the album, it tells of loss, of memories, and we all seek out our roots in the end

 7. World of Strange Design - what if Jesus came from Mississippi?" Rosanne asks, in this Scots Irish tinged song about life not as we know it. As odd as it sounds, this is my second fav song on the album- I think it's more the tune and emotion behind it! It really showcases Rosanne's voice, which why I'm sharing a concert video of it below!

 8. Night School- this one has a jazzy feel, that echoes hardship and love

 9. 50,000 Watts - the most gospel feel of the songs, it speaks of listening to the radio, and the shared experience

10. When the Master Calls the Roll- Rosanne's take on a  Civil War ballad, it tells the emotions of everyone involved in the war. She wrote this song with John, and her ex-husband Rodney Crowell.

11. Money Road- sorrow and hope are entwined, with the past (civil rights) and the future. It is a haunting song, with a melody that will stay with you. 

This really is an album that you will be playing over and over, and singing to yourself when you're not listening to it. It smart, enjoyable and like coming home for all Southerners. We give it our highest approval ranking!

About the Album:
The River & The Thread will be available in standard, deluxe and vinyl formats and can be pre-ordered now on The limited edition deluxe version comes as a 36-page hard cover book filled with photos and mementos from Rosanne’s musical journey. It contains three bonus studio tracks not included on the standard edition: covers of Townes Van Zandt’s “Two Girls” and Jesse Winchester’s “Biloxi” and theCash/Leventhal original “Your Southern Heart.

About Rosanne Cash:
Rosanne was born in Memphis and raised in California, she has recorded fifteen albums, including 1981’s Seven Year Ache and 1987’s King’s Record Shop – both certified Gold. Rosanne has charted 21 Top 40 country singles, 11 of which climbed to No. 1. She has received 12 GRAMMY nominations, winning in 1985. She has also published four books, including her 2010 bestselling memoir, Composed, which The Chicago Tribune hailed as "one of the best accounts of an American life you will likely ever read." Her essays and fiction have appeared in The New York TimesRolling Stone and New York magazine, among others. 

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