Have you ever walked along a river or hiked through mountains? I grew up down by the Wichita Mountains and although they are not considered mountains by many, there are some great hikes and creeks in these mountain’s tiny crevasses.
When I walk these paths, I often ponder the history that is packed within that red dirt. There are tons of legends and stories that have come from these mountains, but you often don’t know which ones are true and which ones to take with a grain of salt.
The only thing you know for sure is that these lands have a heritage and history that is still growing and living. You wonder if the trees and boulders could talk, what stories they would tell.
That’s the story of all our lives. There is no telling what you can find if you wonder down the paths of your heritage. You may find grief or you may find happiness. You may find struggle or you may find riches. Nevertheless, it’s yours, and it deserves pride.
This is exactly how I would explain Rosanne Cash’s latest release, The River and The Thread. Cash wrote a large portion of this album through her travels throughout the south where much of her family heritage lies. The University of Arkansas sparked these interests when they asked if Rosanne would help in the restoration of her father, Johnny Cash’s, childhood home. While on these journeys (she now lives in New York City), she discovered a lot about herself, as well as learning valuable history lessons.
She has stated that these songs are written in the third person perspective. Her distinctive voice wraps around these stories as an actress that doesn’t miss a point. Each song has its own soul covered in words that define each situation both prophetically and precisely.
Each song on this album is a classic and a favorite. I especially enjoy “The River and the Thread,” “The Sunken Lands,” “Tell Heaven,” “50,000 Watts,” and “When the Master Calls the Roll.”
“The River and the Thread” can have multiple interpretations. I feel everyone can find a different meaning for his or her own life in this song. For me, it tells me that things aren’t always what they seem, yet we must make sure of ourselves. “The Sunken Lands” is a song about Cash’s grandmother who took care of her family while picking cotton for the family business.
“50,000 Watts” instantly became special to me. For me, it described my relationship with my mom. I am a wondering soul and I have failed at many things, but my mom has always been standing there at the end of that road with “50,000 watts of “a common prayer,” while pointing to the sky and reminding me of the great Lord we serve and the redemption I receive through him.
And that’s just barely touching the album’s service. Those are just what the songs mean to me. The true beauty of this album is that we can all find our heritage mixed in these songs. We can all find attributes that apply to our life right now, as well as our history. This isn’t just Rosanne’s album about her emotions, family, and heritage. It’s about everyone. She has given us a soundtrack to all our lives.