Dreams still beckon in a damaged world, and Rosanne Cash renders them with fierce grace on She Remembers Everything, a studio recording arriving November 2 from Blue Note Records.
Cash's album offers shimmering pop-with hints of twang and jazz-that could find a home in almost any year of postwar American music. But the luminescence and bright production are shot through with a darker vision. Trenchant vocals, minor chords, and bent notes destabilize the landscape. Familiar yet alien, Cash's take on being a woman in the world reveals just how much has gone awry.
In the wake of the latest tsunami of survivor stories, Cash has had to reckon with the fact that much of what she hoped would change across her lifetime really hasn't. She began to think about what it would mean to fully embrace women's narratives.
The title of the record is the lid to Pandora's box, both a come-on and a threat. There's the kindness and compassion of "She remembers everything about you," but also "Be careful, because she remembers everything."
Cash's most recent work includes a trio of albums exploring her roots. Black Cadillac followed the deaths of her mother, stepmother, and father more than a decade ago. In 2009, The List delivered a dozen covers from an index of 100 essential American songs her father had compiled for her. Her last album, 2014's The River & The Thread, won three GRAMMYs.
Here, she shifts her gaze from music history and heritage in order to reassert her own perspective. This album represents a deliberate return to personal songwriting.
Closing out the four decades Cash has spent as a recording artist, She Remembers Everything contains echoes of nearly all her previous stylings. Listeners who grew up singing along to "Seven Year Ache" on top-40 stations or playing Interiors on a CD player in their bedrooms will recognize the knowing ache of this record. Those who listened to recordings and live shows in subsequent years-which have included residencies at the San Francisco Jazz Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Library of Congress-will likewise find the literary voice that has framed her more recent music. Cash's time focused on roots music also lends a classic form to her songwriting that makes it universal and timeless.
She Remembers Everything fuses a life spent in music into a song cycle. On this album, Cash's career builds to the opposite of a flash in the pan: a kind of slow lightning harnessed into illumination.