Fast-Forward: On her new album, The List (Manhattan), Cash covers a dozen of the 100 essential country songs that her father singled out for her when she was 18 (tunes by Hank Williams, the Carter Family, Merle Haggard…). "It's not a tribute record," says Cash, who duets on The List with Bruce Springsteen and Rufus Wainwright. "It's as if my father were a martial arts master who passed down his secret to his child, and now I'm passing it on."
Play It Again: These days Cash tours as much as her 10-year-old son Jake's school schedule allows, and often hears from other parents motivated to make their own versions of "The List." "It's a beautiful idea," says Cash, who told O about a few of the albums in her current canon.
God Help the Girl , (Matador): It's a concept album by Stuart Murdoch of [Scottish band] Belle and Sebastian. Brittany Stallings, who won a contest to sing on this record, has classic pop and R&B chops, and she uses them in such an unself-conscious way. I'm kind of obsessed right now."
Joe Henry, Blood from Stars Anti-): "His songwriting is so deep—it's always inspiring to me. He has such a gift for the turn of phrase, for cinematic imagery coupled with a profound sense of love and longing. He writes elegies for being human. He's got a killer band, too."
Maino, If Tomorrow Comes (Atlantic): "When I first listened to 'All the Above,' I got a lump in my throat at the line 'Thank you for making me struggle.' By the end of the song, when he says, 'I'm destined for greatness,' I swear to God I started to cry. It resonates with me."
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