Rosanne Cash – 10 Song Demo
10 Song Demo makes the most sense when taken in context with the rest of Rosanne Cash’s career. Her country-star status was cemented with the incredible King’s Record Shop in 1987; to follow up, she released Interiors, a brutal tour of her breakup with husband and collaborator Rodney Crowell. Interiors worked so well because it opened up so easily; the entire broken relationship materializes between the speakers, with all its confusion and contradiction out in the open.
The Wheel, her next album, failed to forge that critical link. It traveled the same middle-age breakup territory but was unapproachable. A louder and slicker production only made the distance between artist and listener greater. Now, 10 Song Demos stands part way between Interiors and The Wheel. The sparse production — though it’s certainly a big-budget demo — makes the often melodramatic songs much more vivid and vital; when the music is stripped this bare, it’s clear the singer utterly believes in what she’s singing. Her voice and person completely dominate, and even when the literary lyrics border on being sappy or overly articulate, the sheer force of Cash’s persona makes it work. It doesn’t invite and connect like Interiors — it’s her struggle she’s singing of, not each of ours — but it doesn’t create the barriers that stalled The Wheel.