Posts Tagged ‘country’

 

Rosanne Cash The River and the ThreadRosanne Cash was born in and began her schooling in Memphis Tennessee. Since then she’s spent most of her life in California, New York and parts of Europe, in part distancing herself from her daddy’s legacy, but when that daddy is Johnny Cash, and you were born into the Memphis of the mid 50s, with the bible belt, the Grand Olde Opry, and the civil rights movement shaping your childhood, there just isn’t enough rebellion to displace those roots, and eventually you say “Road Trip!”

The River and the Thread” was created out of that road trip that took Rosanne and her collaborator/husband John Leventhal through  Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, to Robert Johnson’s grave, the Tallahacthie bridge, civil war battle fields and, of course, her father’s birthplace.  These experiences inform the songs in subtle ways instead of showing up as overt themes.

The album is a gentle celebration of the angels and demons of the South and of Ms Cash’s connectedness to them.  It’s a consistently worthwhile collection of tracks and an easy listen with well-crafted lyrics. The latter tracks on the album venture a little too close to traditional country sounds and motifs for my taste, but I admit that’s a subjective comment.  

“Modern Blue” is an upbeat adult pop song that caught my ear the first time I listened to her new album “The River and the Thread”.  It’s probably the least country sounding song on the album. It has a familiar, comfortable feel. It’s on the What Am I Listening To 2014 playlist.

Rosanne Cash plays Dublin’s Vicar Street April 27th, 2014.

 

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Railroad Earth Last of the OutlawsRailroad Earth hail from New Jersey, although you’d never guess from listening to them. This is the first time I’ve listened to or, in fact, heard of them even though they’ve been kicking around since 2001.

Their latest album. “The Last of the Outlaws”, starts off with two mid tempo country rockers, emphasis on country with a hint of blue-grass on the latter, on either side of a jazzy ballad. So far so good. Solid songs that leave an impression, are easy on the ear, and for the most part have decent lyrics.

Since I was at work on my first listen, I must confess that my mind had settled back to business by the time the fourth track began, only to be taken right back to the album by halfway through the next track “All That’s Dead May Live Again”, a song that begins firmly rooted in celtic influences, then proceeds into an extended instrumental showcasing pretty much all of their country/ jazz/ rock/celtic/etc. influences. As the album progressed beyond this point I began to suspect that these guess might have more than a few Grateful Dead albums in their collections. “Hangtown Ball” reminds me a bit of a Hunter-Garcia composition, and the vocalist even sounds a bit like Gerry on occasion, and you’ll notice a touch of Phil Lesh lead bass from time-to time. I don’t mean to imply that Railroad Earth sounds derivative – they are definitely their own band. But the comparison might give you a clue as to whether this album will appeal to you.  I think it’s well worth a listen.

I could have chosen one of the “normal” sounding tracks for the What Am I Listening To 2014 playlist. There are plenty that are worthy. Instead I thought I’d go with “All That’s Dead May Live Again” Partially because this was the one that pulled me back into the album and partially to show that there are still people releasing music like this. And since that song segues seamlessly into “Face with a Hole” (seems to be a two-parter), I’ve included them both. The total running time is about 20 minutes. You’ve been warned, LOL.