fri 21/02/2020

CD: Rosanne Cash - She Remembers Everything | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Rosanne Cash - She Remembers Everything

CD: Rosanne Cash - She Remembers Everything

A feast for the ears

Rosanne Cash: experience, maturity, wisdom

Forty years on from her eponymous debut album, the eldest child of Johnny Cash and his first wife Vivian Liberto returns after a near five-year gap from recording with a collection of songs that walk the hyphen of country-rock. Hardly surprising for a musician with such impeccable country credentials who left Nashville for New York.

Rosanne Cash’s distinctive voice is to the fore, the band tight, the sound bright and she has some pretty classy company – jazz man Dan Reiser on percussion, and old friends Kris Kristofferson and Elvis Costello who add vocals on “8 Gods of Harlem”, an understated song about gun violence and “collateral children”, on which they also share writing credits. Cash has written or co-written all the material, working with husband John Leventhal (who also plays an impressive number of instruments) and the legendary T-Bone Burnett.

“There is a woman’s real life, complex experiences and layered understanding in these songs,” Cash says of She Remembers Everything. “I could not have written them 10 years ago — not even close. Time is shorter, I have more to say.” Indeed, there’s experience and maturity here that is simply unavailable to younger writers, a wisdom. “Not Many Miles to Go” (written “For John”) is an embrace of older age, told in a lyric that echoes Robert Frost’s “Stopping By the Woods On a Snowy Evening”.

“Everyone But Me” is almost hymnic, a lament for the swift passing of time that opens with simple acoustic piano, acoustic bass and guitar joining and, finally, a string quartet, its homophony subtly underpinning the song’s closing lines lamenting the loss of “mother and father” in a manner that is simultaneously personal and universal. It’s a quieter song yet spiritually it has much in common with Beth Nielsen’s Chapman’s magnificent “Sand and Water”.

She Remembers Everything is a rich and satisfying banquet. There’s nothing rough and ready – the songs have been carefully sequenced. Nothing palls, and the array of musical textures is beguiling, each song perfectly framed. The title track opens with Cash’s voice in its lower register, suspended over a piano motif which recurs and is picked up by the guitar as the song builds, Sam Phillips’s vocal harmony tracking Cash’s own. Then it all falls away, a single cello line intertwining delicately with piano and guitar. Familiar to viewers of HBO’s True Detective for which the song was written, “My Least Favourite Life” closes the album. There’s nothing pared down about this version, which is lavishly scored and in which, after a pause, a string quartet has the last word. It’s addictive.

Liz Thomson's website

There’s nothing rough and ready – the songs have been carefully sequenced. Nothing palls, and the array of musical textures is beguiling, each song perfectly framed


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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