Release Date: Oct 6, 2009
Record label: Manhattan
Cash wisely charts a bluesy course with sparse production on Jimmie Rodgers’ “Miss the Mississippi and You,” showcasing her full, honeyed voice. And she enlists welcome (albeit surprising) guests—Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Tweedy, Elvis Costello and Rufus Wainwright. Even Wainwright’s nasally moans sound right at home alongside Cash’s somber elegance on Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings.” Although meant to honor?father Johnny’s musical tastes, The List better serves as an exquisite reminder of Rosanne’s own history of artistic rebelliousness.
After the dark and chilling themes of 2006's Black Cadillac, which saw Rosanne Cash dealing with the deaths of her mother, Vivian Liberto, her father, Johnny Cash, and her stepmother, June Carter Cash -- all of whom passed within a two-year span -- one might assume that her next project would move into an even deeper level of bleakness, but with The List, it's immediately clear that she has instead found a more measured place to stand, and it's a lovely and redemptive outing that looks back to go forward. When Cash turned 18, her father, alarmed that his daughter only knew the songs that were getting played on the radio, gave her a list of what he considered 100 essential American songs; Cash kept that list, and now she's drawn on it for this wonderfully nuanced outing that brims with a kind of redemptive timelessness. The List is a renewal and a testament to life, and it belongs to her father as much as it belongs to her, a beautiful restatement of her father's passions, only now, they've become his daughter's treasures, as well.
Rosanne Cash’s new album takes its name from a list her father prepared to provide his daughter an education in country music, via 100 essential songs. Cash has culled 12 and offers them as The List, an intensely focused and affecting addition to her catalog. Predictably, given its personal lineage, this new record has a distinctly ruminative feel.
Johnny Cash once gave his teenage daughter Rosanne a list of ”100 Essential Country Songs,” which now, 36 years later, has inspired her latest album. Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy, and Rufus Wainwright all offer guest vocals, but this is very much Cash’s show, as she tackles material that ranges from traditional lament ”Motherless Children” to Bob Dylan’s ”Girl From the North Country” to Merle Haggard’s ”Silver Wings.” The List is a testament to both Cash Jr.’s vocal talents and Cash Sr.’s catholic taste. B Download This: Listen to the song Silver Wings at npr.org See all of this week’s reviews .