Album of the week: Rosanne Cash, 'River & the Thread'

Rosanne Cash
USA Today

New album is among the best in her career.

By Jerry Shriver

The swamp-blues notes of opener A Feather's Not a Bird bathe listeners with the feel of the sultry, mysterious South, heightened when Rosanne Cash dreamily declares, "I'm going down to Florence … I'll sit atop the magic wall with the voices in my head."

That's a reference to northwest Alabama, and to the New York resident reconnecting with her personal and musical past during recent travels to the land of her birth.

The song is a launching point for The River & the Thread (* * * * out of four), a captivating and sometimes haunting album that's among the finest of her career.

The bulk of the songs were crafted by Cash and husband John Leventhal, who also serves as producer and guitarist, and the sound draws from country, blues and gospel.

But it's contemporary and, thanks to that throaty alto – distinctly Rosanne.

Download: Modern Blue, The Long Way Home, Night School, A Feather's Not a Bird