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The River & the Thread (Deluxe)

Rosanne Cash

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Album Review

Nearly eight years after Rosanne Cash last released a set of original songs, 2014's The River & the Thread finds her in a reflective mood, and just as 2009's The List saw her looking back with a set of classic songs recommended by her father, the late country legend Johnny Cash, The River & the Thread is dominated by thoughts and emotions that occurred to her as she was involved in a project to restore Johnny's boyhood home. This doesn't mean that Cash has returned to the spunky, country-accented sound of her most popular work — this is still Rosanne Cash the mature and thoughtful singer/songwriter we've come to know since the late '90s, and the tone of this album is unfailingly literate. But though this music isn't country, it's certainly Southern, and road trips from Alabama to Tennessee, visits to the Tallahatchie Bridge and Money Street, and vintage gospel music on the radio embroider these songs as Cash immerses herself in the places that were once close to home, as if she's reuniting with long lost family. And two of the songs cut especially close to home — "Etta's Tune" was written in memory of Marshall Grant, a longtime family friend and member of Johnny Cash's band, while "When the Master Calls the Roll" is a tale of love torn apart during the Civil War that Cash wrote in collaboration with her former husband Rodney Crowell and current spouse John Leventhal — and they rank with the best material on the album, genuine and heartfelt, and written and performed with a genuine passion that never sinks into sentimental histrionics. Just as Cash's songs are crafted with a subtle intelligence, her vocals here are superb, getting to the heart of the lyrics without painting herself into a corner, and the production is rich but elegant and to the point. Rosanne Cash hasn't been especially prolific in the 21st century, and at under 40 minutes, she wasn't crafting an epic with The River & the Thread. But she's learned to make every word and every note count, and this album confirms once again that she's matured into a singular artist with the talent and the vision to make these stories of her travels in the South come to vivid and affecting life. [The River & the Thread was also issued in a "Deluxe Edition," which includes upgraded packaging and three bonus tracks. Only one of the additional tunes is an original, "Your Southern Heart," which fits comfortably with the themes of the album but isn't as immediately impressive as the other tracks. However, Cash sounds marvelous on a slow, sensuous version of Jesse Winchester's "Biloxi," and she's similarly marvelous as she takes on Townes Van Zandt's "Two Girls" in a spare, jazzy arrangement. The extra material on the Deluxe Edition of The River & the Thread isn't quite essential, but loyal fans certainly won't be disappointed by having an extra nine minutes worth of an album this good.]

Customer Reviews

She keeps getting better with age

In the fall of 1981, I listened to my cassette of Seven Year Ache every morning on the way to college until I wore the tape out, and then I did the same thing with her followup albums, Somewhere in the Stars and Rhythm & Romance. As time moved on, I lost touch with Rosanne Cash after her commercially-successful King's Records Shop until Black Cadillac was released in 2006. Between 1987 and 2006, music had gone from cassettes to CDs to digital, and I'm glad for the transition because I played Black Cadillac until I knew every word by heart. Now comes The River & the Thread, and once again I'm reminded why I love Rosanne Cash's music. Just like the songs on Black Cadillac, there's so much depth and meaning woven into every track. At age 58, she's never been as relevant as she is right now. Everyone should take 45 minutes out of their day and listen to this from beginning to end. The tracks are mesmerizing.


Rosanne has finally come full circle. Her storytelling is thought provoking and mysteriously sweet, and she is vocally superb. Rosanne has discovered a new part of her own voice and is stylistically coming from a place that is truly her home… her roots… her legacy. Production by John Leventhal is brilliant as well. Love this work!

Well worth the wait

It is sooooo awesome to finally have new music from Rosanne Cash. If the 3 tracks available now are an indication of what the rest of her music will be like, this will be a PHENOMINAL cd. You can tell that she puts her heart and soul into everything she does and does not compromise either to satisfy a record company that is only looking for a few hits. That is what makes her one of the BEST singers/songerwriters of today!!!


Born: May 24, 1955 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The history of popular music is littered with the careers of the children of famous artists, performers who manage to carve out some small measure of success based far less on talent than on the recognition that their famous names afford them. Perhaps no greater exception to this trend was Rosanne Cash, the daughter of Johnny...
Full Bio

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