Rosanne Cash

Somewhere in the Stars/Rhythm & Romance

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Even more so than its predecessor, the Raven two-fer Right or Wrong/Seven Year Ache, this pair of albums on one CD shows the depth and breadth of how far Rosanne Cash was willing to go in order to remake modern country music into something she considered not only interesting but also valid for the time period. Somewhere in the Stars and Rhythm & Romance are exercises in making seamless all the music that she and Rodney Crowell, her then husband, producer, and collaborator, had absorbed in London, Los Angeles, and New York. On these two records, particularly on the latter, Cash utilized the sounds of British new wave and the L.A. studio sound as a bottom for her lyrical and melodic explorations. The two discs are sharply contrasted by two things: On Somewhere in the Stars, Cash and producer Crowell chose mainly material by other songwriters, and on Rhythm & Romance, Crowell departed as producer and Cash wrote nearly everything on the record. Both records charted and did very well, but Rhythm & Romance went to number one, garnering a pair of singles in that spot as well as a Grammy for Cash's "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me." Sonically, they dovetail one another. Whereas on Stars, Cash and Crowell experiment with textures and riffs from various other types of pop music, on Rhythm & Romance there is no holding back, from the tough guitars to Benmont Tench's keyboards to the album's more rock and soul feeling overall. Each album stands on its own, and as a pair they are an amazing whole and deeply satisfying listening experience, standing the test of time exceedingly well.

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