Rules of Travel
Welcome to country music for the thinking class: Rosanne Cash’s new album is a blessed relief from Nashville’s reigning combination of cliché and jingoism. Her voice is as rich as ever, assuaging fears caused by her well-publicized throat problems. A star-studded guest list includes backing vocals from Sheryl Crow on “Beautiful Pain,” a featured appearance by Steve Earle in a co-dependency anthem called “I’ll Change for You” and a moving duet with her father, “September When It Comes.” Many of these songs were co-written by Cash and her husband, producer John Leventhal, and though thoughtful and reflective in tone, are not as dark as songs from 1990’s Interiors. They’re not all subdued, though; the chorus on the title track is so catchy that I immediately added it to my humming repertoire.