The River & the Thread by Rosanne Cash

Much like an artist picks up a brush to create a painting, Rosanne Cash picks up a pen to create a song, like those on her newest album, The River & The Thread, and the results are the same—art. Between often swampy, occasionally sublime arrangements and Rosanne’s own gritty-yet-ethereal vocal, it’s difficult not to be hypnotized or at least mesmerized by each track.

The Delta-infused recording sounds like nothing on contemporary country radio these days, but it’s the lyrical content that elevates the album to another plane. This collection of songs, which should be listened to front to back in its entirety, is a collection of stories. The album opener, “A Feather’s Not a Bird,” requires a careful listen as it weaves a story full of Southern imagery, as does the Civil War memoir “When the Master Calls the Roll.” The brooding closer, “Money Road,” references the haunted Tallahatchie Bridge from Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” the structure spanning the same waters where young Emmett Till’s body was left after his abuction and murder.

Not every track is dark, although all weave a story of some sort. “Etta’s Tune” is as much a soothing lullaby as it is a tale, innately sweet in its presentation.

The River & The Thread will require multiple listens to truly appreciate, so set aside some time to soak in this one.

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