Rosanne Cash, 'The List' (Manhattan)

The List
Critical Mass
Label: Manhattan

by Jon Young

Drawing from a syllabus of 100 essential country tunes compiled by dad Johnny in the 1970s, Rosanne Cash delivers the most enjoyable history lesson imaginable. Her cozy, velvety voice tempers the desperation of Hank Williams' "Take These Chains From My Heart" and Bobby Bare's "500 Miles" by emphasizing their sheer beauty, while the understated settings of producer-spouse John Leventhal evoke Willie Nelson's mellow elegance. Despite some major guests -- Bruce Springsteen duets on "Sea of Heartbreak" -- Cash is always in charge and always mesmerizing.

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