Public television continues to be one of the best avenues of American music specials.
Frequently referred to as “the Mount Rushmore of country music,” The Highwaymen – Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson – were American country music’s first bona fide supergroup, an epic quartet comprised of the outlaw country genre’s pioneering stars. An essential musical and cultural influence, the Grammy-winning group was active from 1985 – 1995: recording three albums, touring the world and acting in the movie Stagecoach (1986). American Masters – The Highwaymen: Friends Till the End, premiering nationwide Friday, May 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) as part of the 30th anniversary season of THIRTEEN’s American Masters series, explores how these men came together and the fruits of their historic collaboration.
The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws, a new 3 CD/1 DVD or Blu-ray box set of concert performances — including the complete Nassau Coliseum concert film seen in the American Masters documentary — will be available May 20 fromColumbia/Legacy, along with a new single-disc compilation CD, The Very Best of The Highwaymen. The Highwaymen: Live At Nassau Coliseum (a special broadcast edit of the concert film featured on The Highwaymen Live – American Outlaws) is part of special programming premiering on PBS stations as part of June Pledge 2016.
Blue Note Records continues to extend the panorama of their artist portfolio by signing, “Americana” artist Rosanne Cash to the label. I view this signing as a healthy sign that Blue Note Records is widening their artistic purpose as they diversify from their historic role as a “venerable jazz label”.
I first reflected upon the jam band initiative that Blue Note Records was embracing in July. I wrote about the significance of the Elvis Costello and The Roots collaboration, Wise Up Ghost, as well as new recordings from Robert Randolph Family Band and Gov’t. Mule forging a new Blue Note product line.
The second phase of Blue Note Record’s distribution strategy is Americana music with Rosanne Cash’s collaboration recording, The River & The Thread leading the way.
The River & The Thread,Rosanne Cash’s first album in more than four years, will be released on January 14, 2014 by Blue Note Records. Cash wrote the album’s 11 original songs with her longtime collaborator (and husband) John Leventhal, who also served as producer, arranger and guitarist.
The River & The Thread is sweeping in its breadth, capturing a unique, multi-generational cast of characters – from a Civil War soldier off to fight in Virginia to a New Deal-era farmer in Arkansas to a contemporary Mobile, AL couple. While Cash and Leventhal found inspiration in the many musical styles associated with the South – swampy Delta blues, gospel, Appalachian folk, country and rock, to name a few – this is a completely contemporary collection. Cash’s crystalline voice and Leventhal’s compelling guitar work are at the heart of the album, and they bring in more instrumentation to suit the tone of each particular song – from the delicate orchestral passages of “Night School,” (which nods to Stephen Foster, who also had a deep affection for the South) to the ghostly keyboards of album closer “Money Road.”
She was joined in the studio by a cast of friends and fellow musicians who also have a deep affection for and/or roots in the South, including Cory Chisel, Rodney Crowell (who also co-wrote one song), Amy Helm, Kris Kristofferson, Allison Moorer, John Prine, Derek Trucks, John Paul White (The Civil Wars), Tony Joe White and Gabe Witcher (The Punch Brothers.)
Rosanne Cash and her band will preview some of the new material from The River & The Thread tonight (Sept. 19) at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley as part of the Americana Music Festival.
Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread – Track Listing
1. A Feather’s Not A Bird
2. The Sunken Lands
3. Etta’s Tune
4. Modern Blue
5. Tell Heaven
6. The Long Way Home
7. World Of Strange Design
8. Night School
9. 50,000 Watts
10. When The Master Calls The Roll
11. Money Road
I love when multifaceted artists like Rosanne Cash (singer-songwriter, writer and author) take on research pursuits that add to their core values and strengths. On December 5, Cash will begin a three-day residency at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Events will include a concert, a round robin with Leventhal, Crowell, Cory Chisel and Amy Helm and a conversation with Natasha Trethewey, U.S. Poet Laureate. For additional details, visit http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2013/13-141.html.
I’d love for us to attend this event.
December 5 through 7, 2013, Rosanne Cash Residency
“The Long Way Home: Songs of Travel and Longing”
Rosanne Cash is a major advocate of the arts. She has appeared twice at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in nearby New Haven, CT. We especially love her appearance on the PBS-TV advertisement for the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. She has performed 13 acoustic Cash concerts at the Rubin Museum of Art since 2004.