Cash’s first album since 2003’s Rules of Travel, Black Cadillac is darker than its predecessor, but with melodies often more complex and lyrics more stunningly poetic than anything its creator has conjured before, the album is more transforming than depressing, and exquisitely beautiful. In the achingly mournful, yet redemptive “I Was Watching You,” she writes of waiting in heaven as her parents meet and wed, and of eventually joining them on earth, only to realize her parents now view life’s events from her first vantage point. Other songs (“House on the Lake,” “Burn Down This Town”) frame more tangible real-life events, i.e., the Cash compound in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and the Man in Black’s firebug tendencies. Producers John Leventhal and Bill Bottrell dot the lean, atmospheric, and genre-blending production with instrumental hallmarks that recall both the Appalachian sound of the Carter Family and the work of J.R. Cash (the horns in the title cut pay homage to those in “Ring of Fire”). But while elegiac, Black Cadillac never turns maudlin or morphs into a tribute record to a fallen icon (the lawyers get skewered in one particularly clear-eyed passage). Instead, this extraordinary, intensely moving work is made up of dreamy and deeply personal pages from a psychic scrapbook, delivered on the cashmere-and-corduroy voice of one of music’s purest and most visionary artists.