Rosanne Cash has won four Grammy awards, has scored fifteen Top 20 country hits, has written one of music’s great memoirs in Composed, and has lived an unusual and commendable life. In this episode of Voices in the Hall, she talks about her unique journey, her creative process, and her family history.
Peter on Episode 3: Rosanne Cash
Country music of the 1980s was marred at times by questionable drum sounds and time-stamping synthesizers, but that decade also featured a slew of hyper-literate singer-songwriters, folks who drew inspiration from sources as seemingly disparate as Flannery O’Connor, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams. Prime among these folks was Rosanne Cash, whose hit songs such as “Seven Year Ache” and “Blue Moon With Heartache” are models of eloquence and emotional specificity.
If Cash’s story ended with the close of that decade, it would be a remarkable story, one worthy of study and praise. But the 1980s was only the first burst of notable activity in a decades-long career as a country, folk, and Americana artist. Oh, and an essayist, activist, short story writer, and memoirist. And lots of other things, too. She’s a smart, kind, and soulful sort, and each time I’m around her I’m simultaneously heartened by her attention and humbled by her skill set.
Also, check this out . . . She’s Johnny Cash’s daughter. You probably knew that already. Being the child of an icon might from the outside seem like winning the lineage lottery, but for Rosanne it has also been exhausting and at times maddening, though ultimately wondrous. What I’m saying is that, believe it or not, family stuff gets complicated. Rosanne has navigated complications with wit and grace. I suspect we can learn something from her if we want to.
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