Album review

Rosanne Cash 

The River & The Thread

added: 9 Feb 2014 // release date: 4 Feb 2014 // label: Blue Note Records
reviewer: Paul Chapinal

Rosanne Cash - The River & The Thread - Printable version
Itís been four years since Rosanne Cashís last album and while it is a clichť to say so, itís been worth the wait. This one of the most complete and rounded albums that anyone is going to produce or hear all year. It was written by Rosanne Cash with her husband and co-writer John Leventhal, who also plays guitar, arranges and produces.

From the opener A Featherís Not a Bird to closer Money Road, itís an album of different tones, and hues, yet none of the tracks sound out of place. It flows beautifully carried by Ms Cashís captivating voice, her husbandís sometimes inspired guitar work, and fair few guests.

Itís definitely an album with the American South at its heart though as the laidback blues of A Featherís Not a Bird indicates, thereís a lot that can be done within the genre. Take Modern Blueís swagger, which is right out of the Petty book of song. The Long Way Homeís delicate use of strings, sounds and space creates a darkly Lynchian oddity. Night Schoolís moody orchestral arrangements and sparseness, brought to mind Sinatraís In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Then thereís the slightly off-kilter closer Money Road.

Of the more Ďtraditional Countryí tracks, thereís nary a fault. One can hear the toiling worker on ambulating and touching The Sunken Lands, and on World of Strange Design the formula is familiar, tried and tested but sounds refreshed and current. The only real let-down is When The Master Calls The Roll, which just is a little too long.

With most of the tracks clocking in at around 3 -4 minutes thereís not a lot of room for self-indulgence and that is borne out by the performances which are on the nose every time. The album also has a very contemporary feel about it, which is down to a production thatís sympathetic to the performers. Itís an album thatíll keep on giving no matter how many times you return to it.

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4 stars

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