Rosanne Cash: Following The River, The Thread, And The Road Home

03.05.14
Rosanne Cash
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Rosanne Cash has the entire Southern musical tradition stamped, quite literally, into her DNA. Her new album, The River & The Thread, follows various kinds of pathways -- musical, historical, social, genealogical -- toward the heart of that musical imprint.

Cash has lived in New York for more than 20 years, having transplanted herself from what became a restricting Nashville scene. But after she was asked to help restore her father’s childhood home in Dyess, Arkansas, her first visit to the site inaugurated a whole series of trips which became part of a larger pilgrimage down Highway 61 with her husband and songwriting partner, John Leventhal.

During one of their early trips, they met the widow of Marshall Grant -- bass player of the Tennessee Two -- Etta. After many conversations, Cash and Leventhal wrote “Etta’s Tune” -- from which the remainder of The River & the Thread unspooled as a series of observations about the South.

Cash also tapped many of her friends and fellow musicians with an affection for the music of the South: Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell (who also co-wrote one song), Kris Kristofferson, Amy Helm, Allison Moorer, John Prine, Derek Trucks, John Paul White of The Civil Wars, and much more. The result is perhaps Cash's finest record since 1993's The Wheel, and will surely be one of year's best country and Americana albums.