Robin Denselow, Guardian 1.5.14, reviewed Rosanne Cash as follows …
She could have opened with her own hits from the 80s, the music of her legendary father Johnny Cash, or even songs from The List, her album of the country favourites recommended to her by her dad. But instead she launched into 11 songs from her new album, The River & the Thread, performed in sequence. It was a brave and unusual opening, but the right one. These poignant and atmospheric stories about the “dark, strange, mysterious south” mix family history, American history and fantasy; the album was a result of her travels through the southern US with her husband and co-writer John Leventhal, the excellent guitarist who led her five-piece band.
After swamp-bluesy travelogue A Feather’s Not a Bird she moved on to blend country, folk, rock and gospel in a set that proved she is an increasingly original singer and storyteller. She switched from songs about her father’s favourite radio station to southern attitudes to outsiders and religion, then there was a folk-country narrative about the Cash family during the civil war and an eerie, edgy study of the dark side of the south, Money Road, which ended with a wailing blitz of guitars.
After a standing ovation for the new songs, she switched to old favourites. Songs from The List included a slow, bluesy treatment of Hank Snow’s I’m Moving On, and were matched against her country-pop hit Seven Year Ache and a stomping treatment of her dad’s Tennessee Flat Top Box. Best of all was the reworking of Bobby Gentry’s 1967 hit Ode to Billie Joe, sung with backing only from Leventhal’s guitar, and now sounding like a bleak horror mystery from the south.
Hear Rosanne singing A Feather’s Not A Bird at