“Most personal album to date” is a PR cliché, but Rosanne Cash’s The River & the Thread (Blue Note) is a singular case where it happens to be true.
Cash and longtime collaborator John Leventhal took a personal journey through the South, arriving at the nexus where the Tallahatchie Bridge, Robert Johnson’s grave and Money Road, the site where Emmett Till made the fatal mistake of flirting with a white woman, were all within a walk away.
The songs become even more personal than “Money Road,” and first lines express her discovered, uncovered memories such as the first smell her father remembered: “Five cans of paint in the empty fields” from “The Sunken Lands.”
Stylistically, the album sounds of folk, gospel, blues and country as the settings for songs of the Civil War, the Great Depression, the akashic airwaves from a resounding radio station …
But concert tickets make great stocking stuffers, too. You should experience for yourself the intimate, soul-reaching evening of the duet of Cash and Leventhal.