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Rosanne Cash - Rules Of Travel 
CD Review: Jim Moulton

This is Rosanne's latest album, released in 2003. It was actually a work interrupted. Rosanne started laying down the tracks for this CD in 1999, but then she lost her voice due to a a problem with her vocal chords and lost the ability to sing for almost three years. Then she went back to work on it with producer John Leventhal, who also co-writes a lot of the songs, plays a lot of the instruments including bass, guitars, keyboards and percussion. 

The overall sound is sparse, but has a very full, rich sound thanks to great production by Leventhal and mastering by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound. Rosanne Cash has a beautiful, rich voice that sounds pure and emotive. 

Overall, describing the music is very Americana and rootsy. I must mention the creative artwork, the CD looks like a compass with Rules of Travel engraved on it. The booklet with all of the lyrics is very creatively designed with a retro flair. The Cover Pic shows Rosanne imposed on a stormy sea with an old schooner in the background, holding a compass in her hand. (See Below)

"September When it Comes" with her late father (Johnny Cash) is the most powerful song on the disc. Johnny's part is so prophetic of his passing on to his heavenly home; "I plan to crawl outside these walls, Close my eyes and see, Fall into the heart and arms of those who wait for me." Very sparsely produced with mostly acoustic guitars and vocals, it really hits you with a shock of emotion.

This is truly an album following a theme Rules Of Travel, starting out with "Beautiful Pain", a beauty with Sheryl Crow to the last track "Last Stop Before Home." "Western Wall" self written is just acoustic guitars and bass with some keyboards, a beautiful melody with some very thought provoking lyrics. Beautiful guitar tones. The last track "Last Stop Before Home" is beautiful, great lyrics, hooks, vocals, great guitar work by Leventhal. Incredible tonality on this very emotive piece of work. The disc starts out with "Beautiful Pain", a sonic beauty with nice punchy bass, great backup vocals by Sheryl Crow, Rosanne shows that her sweet voice is all of the way back.

Okay, we are on the second spin of the CD, I really haven't enjoyed an album so much in a while. I'm listening to the third track,"I'll Change For You", a great song with Steve Earle on the song doing some responses to her vocals in a talk mode. "Rules Of Travel" is an awesome acoustic track; Rosanne writes incredible lyrics "Learn the rules of travel inside each others heart". It is really incredible how she weaves from song to song on this journey from the beginning to end.

This is an aural masterpiece. Rosanne Cash is one of the most underrated talents in music. Really an inspiring listen, eleven great tracks. 


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