Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Don Gibson’s 1961 song was more syrupy pop that was the style in the Nashville Sound era of Music Row. Sea of Heartbreak has been gone on to be covered with anticipated schmaltz by Anne Murray and by Jimmy Buffett (complete with out of context steel drums) with George Strait backing vocals (yep, I would have reversed that one around) on the Live at Texas Stadium album, as well as Johhny Cash.
The story is that on her upcoming release, The List, Rosanne Cash is covering 12 classic songs taken from a list of country tunes given to her by her father, Johnny Cash, in 1973.
Rosanne’s version is much more subtle and refined then the versions I’ve heard, even Johnny’s own upbeat version of the song. The pop swing is still there but is now understated to allow the longing melancholy from the Sad Poet’s song to stand out. Roseanne uses her earnest voice as a fine counter to Springtseen’s classic croon. This is a fine start to what is sure to be a great release.