First album in four years from Rosanne Cash documents the loss of her father, mother...
Jon Lusk 2006
Country music pedigrees don't come much more prestigious than that of singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash;ex-wife of Rodney Crowell, daughter of Johnny Cash and step daughter of June Carter Cash. Some say she'd never have been as well known without this; others reckon her artistry has been unfairly overshadowed by her more famous relatives. Whatever, Rosanne Cash is a singular talent who has been making good and great records for over a quarter of a century.
As a confessional and deeply autobiographical writer, her best work has always been that closest to the bone. So it's hardly surprising that the triple whammy (if you'll excuse the callous phrase) of losing her mother, stepmother and father within the space of just two cruel years finds her on such good form.
Black Cadillac comes across like two mini albums that have been spliced together; one half recorded in L.A with new producer Bill Bottrell and the other in New York with husband John Leventhal, who has been her regular producer since 1993's relatively lacklustre The Wheel.
Cash seems to have saved much of the strongest (and most sombre) material for Botrell, with largely acoustic piano ballads like "I Was Watching You" and "The World Unseen". Thesematch nagging choruses and lyrics spelling out recent events with the steely sense of catharsis that's long been her trademark. 'I blink and while my eyes have closed/ they both have gone away,' she wails on the finger-picked "House On The Lake"; and 'Now one of us gets to go to heaven/ One has to stay here in hell' she sighs on the brooding title track. Hard to imagine many covers resulting from such personal stuff.
It's not completely sustained however, and a few of the upbeat tracks weaken the impact. But on the bright side, it's been nearly four years since the rather forgettable Rules of Travel and this is a considerable return to form. Cash is singing strong songs with a renewed conviction; Black Cadillac is a fine late night listen.