Each song on Rosanne Cash's new album is rooted in the Southern soil connecting her family's old homestead in Arkansas to its ancestral Virginia homeland, expanding to survey its artistic roots in Alabama and Tennessee. Some narratives are fictional, while others mine family lore.
Stream The River & The Thread from NPR’s First Listen.
When the Library of Congress posted its concert schedule, I said – with only passing familiarity with her music – that I would like to go see her concert there, figuring that would be a great way to become more familiar.
We got tickets for the band show, the first night of her three-day residency, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. She performed songs from this album, many of them for the first time, some for only the second time. The songs, even the fictional ones, have a personal connection that was palpable and alive in the way few musical performances are. This was aided, perhaps, by the fact they were still new and not just habit, but I have seen very few concerts that were that strongly bound to their material.
We ended up going back for rush tickets for the songwriters’ circle the next night and got to hear a couple of the same songs as the night before, only this time without the band. Both nights were excellent, and the songs still had the same insistence they’d had with the full band.
So what I’m saying is, you should go stream this now.