Roseanne Cash’s “The River and the Thread” is Timeless and Transfixing

Clay Patrick McBride

Rosanne Cash
The River & the Thread
Blue Note

On her first album since 2009’s The List, a fine collection of covers suggested by her father, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash returns with a quietly searing set of originals. Collaborating, as usual, with her husband, producer, guitarist and co-writer John Leventhal, she eloquently evokes the loneliness of the road, the ache of unfulfilled longing and the neverending quest for comfort and relief from the trials of life in sublime tunes like “The Long Way Home” and “Night School.”

Cash’s graceful, unhurried singing brings a simmering heat to what could be soothing country rock in less thoughtful hands, but is more unsettling than reassuring. Timeless and transfixing, The River & the Thread lingers like a haunting refrain.