The Deep South has always intrigued me. Nowhere else in the world would you find such a vast and different landscape, with the same being said for the music that’s spilled from there over the many years. Blues, Country, tales of heartache and woe; the south is where stories are told best through music, and Rosanne Cash has continued this tradition with New Album The River and the Thread.
The record feels like a nostalgic journey through the southern states of America, borrowing and jumping from genre to genre but keeping a southern twist throughout, vocally and musically. You can’t help but here tinges of her Father Johnny Cash in her voice, but it’s so much warmer and homely, and fits perfectly with her style of music.
The record is full of characters and places that help give it charm. Album opener A Feather’s not a Bird is a great infusion of styles in a country tone, but with some bluesy lyrics that sound like they’ve been around for generations, “a storm is not a mountain but a river runs through me”.
Sunken Lands is a sweet harmonic ditty, with sounds of hardships and foils, and great guitar work provided by husband John Leventhal can only make the track stronger.
But the album really shines on the more laid back tracks. Night School almost sounds like a nursery rhyme, perfect for winding down after a hard day of work, whereas When the Master Calls borrows from Irish folk with Roseanne’s voice adapting to the change nicely.
Lyrically Rosanne Cash has always been strong, and it doesn’t stand out more than in World of Strange Design and its instantly catchy country chorus, “If Jesus cam from Mississippi if tears began to rise, I guess I’ll start at the beginning, the world of strange design.”
Cash finishes strong with Money Road; a song full of promise and mystery that bears resemblance to the river and state of Mississippi where the stretch of road resides.
The album manages to be a love letter to the South and all its musical charm. This is a definite return to form for Rosanne, and it seems the four year gap between this and her last record has helped her rediscover that you can find the best music where your heart lies.