Friday, April 25, 2014

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Sound Check

1/8/2014

cd Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen

“High Hopes”

Columbia

Initially, “High Hopes” confused me. The Boss is renowned as a tireless, blue-collar worker, but everything about this album seemed lazy. Nothing on the album is new: There are covers, songs Springsteen has released elsewhere and tracks that had previously been left on the cutting room floor. But upon even a cursory listen, it becomes clear that Springsteen wasn’t looking to make a quick buck off some easy reissues. The E Street Band is in full effect throughout the album, bolstered by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who plays on 10 of the album’s tracks. Springsteen’s voice is a timeless American classic, and paring it with Morello’s mad genius is a decision that yields mixed results. The album’s title track and the pair’s driving nine-minute version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” are highlights, while “The Wall” and “Frankie Fell in Love” are lacking. CV

 

cd Rosanne-Cash-River-ThreadRosanne Cash

“The River and The Thread”

Blue Note

Blue Note Records, long known as the preeminent jazz label, has undergone a campaign to extend its sphere of influence. One major piece in that re-imagining is Rosanne Cash and this, her first album under the label’s banner. “The River and The Thread” is a solid, beautiful piece of music-making. Joined in the studio by a slew of guest artists, including John Paul White, Allison Moorer and Kris Kristofferson, Cash’s voice provides a bluesy, lush bedrock upon which the music is allowed to flourish. Deeply evocative of the sounds of the Mississippi delta, tracks like “A Feather’s Not a Bird” and “Money Road” create vivid pictures in the listener’s mind and help make “The River and The Thread” a gorgeous way to kick off the new year. CV

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