Rosanne Cash – Black Cadillac (2006)
purchase this album
It’s about the attempt to connect the dots. It’s about how relationships go on even after a person dies. How when someone important to you has departed, you have to re-identify yourself. That’s what this album’s about. All of that.
So Rosanne Cash describes her new album, Black Cadillac, and her focus is weighty â€” in fact, it might be the toughest subject matter a songwriter could choose to tackle. As you may or may not know, Cash buried her father, mother, and stepmother in a less-than-two-year period between 2003 and 2005, a period that coincided roughly with the writing of this album, and while I’m sure this sorrowful trifecta would have earned Cadillac a free pass from nine out of ten music critics, the absolute truth of the matter is that despite the difficulty â€” and raw emotion â€” guiding her muse, Cash has created a stunner of an album, and done so with exactly the sort of warmth and grace we’ve come to expect from her.
That’s a mouthful. I’ll try again: Black Cadillac is a beautiful album. Perhaps Cash’s best. Pop songwriting, it could be argued, wasn’t really built for discussing the things that really matter in life â€” that when profundity somehow manages to survive within its limits, it does so in spite of those limits, or because of truly singular talent. I could go either way on that argument, to tell you the truth, but what I do know is that what Cash has done here is not only deeply moving, it’s illuminative of just how powerful a less-than-four-minute song can be.
In lesser hands, this would have been an hourlong dirge, the kind of album that works only if you’re in a horrible mood (such as Sting’s similarly themed Soul Cages). But Cash teases the light out of her personal darkness, and in the process, creates a three-dimensional audio portrait of unspeakable loss, harrowing grief, and something like redemption. It’s superb and you should own it â€” but, if you must, first give the title track (download) and “Dreams Are Not My Home” (download) a try.