The thread that runs through The River & the Thread
is a series of trips that Rosanne Cash and her husband John Leventhal took to the South, which started when she was asked to participate in events surrounding the restoration of her father's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.
This song references an actual journey the pair took through the Delta, down Money Road in Mississippi. The Mississippi route has lot of history attached to it including the Tallahatchie Bridge from Bobbie Gentry's "Ode To Billie Joe
," which is noted in the first line (the album cover shows Cash looking over the bridge).
Money Road is the site of two landmarks of American history. It is where the Blues legend Robert Johnson is buried, and also the site of Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market, where an incident involving a black teenager named Emmett Till led to his brutal murder. The abandoned building where the market was located was still standing when Cash visited. "It was hard to take in," she told us. "There was nobody there. It was key to where the Civil Rights Movement began, right at that spot. It chills you to your core." (Here's our full Rosanne Cash interview