Sure, we’re not even halfway into the year, but you can count on this album to show up on many “Best Releases of 2014” lists when the end of the year rolls around. It may even be the best album of Rosanne Cash’s career. It is the tale of a journey through space, the southern United States and time. It spans from the present to the days of the Civil War and develops a rich history of the Cash family. Along the way, she drops in on old friends (like Etta and Marshall Grant, the latter who played bass with her dad), sings about her ancestors on both sides of the war, expounds on the New Deal and the Great Depression and visits the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s — that is just a brief glimpse of the breadth of the album. In one way this is an intensely personal album of one family’s — and one nation’s — experiences. In a broader sense, however, it addresses the impact of the land and the places our lives come from. The details will vary slightly, but this is our story, too. It is a good story.
By Bruce Pollock