Black Music Matters Festival

Rosanne Cash

Rules of Travel – 2003 (Capitol)

Reviewed by Robert Loy

Rosanne Cash not only could not sing for several years, she couldn't even talk. She's back now and she has a lot to say. Country music has changed a lot her last major album (1993's "The Wheel") But some things haven't. Then as now, posturing is a lot more common than genuine soul-baring, and this is why Cash's music stands out, regardless of trends. Honesty is timeless.

The musical event here is "September When it Comes," a duet with her legendary father. If you can hear Johnny Cash's still magnificent voice sing "I cannot move a mountain now, I can no longer run / I cannot be who I was then, in a way I never was" and not be emotionally affected, you need to call your cardiologist. Right away.

The other tracks are worthy of inclusion with "September When it Comes," and that is high praise indeed. It's easy to pick highlights - the erotic, obsessive "I'll Change For You" (featuring Steve Earle); the title track, a poetical guidebook to the heart; and "Closer Than I Appear" which manages to be both catchy and profound - because this album was 10 years in the making and each of its 11 tracks are gems.