by: Rosanne Cash

On Rosanne Cash's final recording for Columbia's Nashville division she pulled out all the stops. Already known for her unflinching honesty, she took it to its most poignant and searing extreme on Interiors. Cash produced the record herself and wrote or co-wrote all the material here. A country record it's not, but that hardly matters. This is a pop record with teeth and ache and broken hearts strewn all over the place. In fact, Interiors has the feel of a battlefield emptied of everything but its ghosts. The album is a collection of ten songs linked thematically by the chronicling of the tension, dysfunction, and ultimate dissolution of Cash's marriage to Rodney Crowell caused by dishonesty, infidelity, substance abuse, and physical distance; and she owns her side of the street with courage without laying blame. Carefully wrought with subtle instrumentation surrounding her fearless yet wavering vocals. Acoustic guitars, pianos, brushed drums, an occasional organ, a bass almost hidden under layers of ethereal grace -- these are the musical trappings that frame Cash's voice as she sets about a task so seemingly painful it's almost uncomfortable to listen to. It's as if the listener is granted a private audience with her heart and innermost thoughts. Everything is here: the disillusionment, the anger, the vain hope of reconciliation, and finally the acceptance and resignation that endings are a part of life and serve their purpose. While these ten tracks are virtually inseparable from one another, there are standouts such as "Dance With the Tiger" written with John Stewart, "Real Woman" written with Crowell, "Mirror Image," "I Want a Cure," and the harrowing closer, "Paralyzed," where Cash is accompanied only by a piano. Here she lets her current position be known, that seeing the end of this relationship leaves her in the clutches of being unable to move from the emotional space she is in. This album is full of a truth that most would rather not acknowledge, but it is morally and spiritually instructive in terms of its lyrical content, and musically it is her masterpiece. In fact, it's proof that art can redeem what cannot be in human terms. ~ Thom Jurek

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