What our critics are listening to

01:56 PM, Jan 27, 2014

Roseanne Cash (photo provided by roseannecash.com)/


ROSANNE CASH

THE RIVER & THE THREAD. Well, that was easy. It’s only January, what’s gonna have to happen to knock off The River & the Thread as my my favorite album of 2014? The opening song, “A Feather’s Not a Bird,” is the road map; the river and the thread that runs through her life is a literal journey, and an literary one, into Cash’s southern roots. In “The Sunken Lands,” a handful of spare but telling images recall what Rosanne’s father, Johnny Cash, told of his hard Arkansas childhood. “Modern Blue” is an ear gem of longing romance that would have fit on any of her classic albums. She sings beautifully, and guitarist, producer and husband John Leventhal has nailed the sound. But mostly what I like about these songs is they’re so damn smart. “I’d like to have the ocean, but I settled for the rain.” That’s writing. — JEFF SPEVAK

DALEY

ALONE TOGETHER. It often takes the sound of British soul quite some time to make its way across the Atlantic to my ears. Thank goodness this EP by R&B singer Daley made it to my iTunes. The vibe is easy, breezy in the uptempo and cool “Game Over” as Daley sings “Don’t speak, there is nothing else you need to say, you got me.” This guy is smooth. I imagine him on a stage in a small, dimly lit room singing with ease as I listen to him croon “Alone Together.” One of my tests of a true singer is hearing just how well he or she sounds with only an acoustic guitar as accompaniment. Well, Daley shows he has the chops on the simple, haunting “Love is a Losing Game.” I need more music from this British gent to float across the ocean and land in my vicinity. — SHEILA RAYAM