Rosanne Cash draws from the well — her dad’s textbook music list

Make no mistake, Rosanne Cash fully understands the value of the sheet of yellow lined paper her father handed to her one summer day in 1973.

Rosanne Cash i

Make no mistake, Rosanne Cash fully understands the value of the sheet of yellow lined paper her father handed to her one summer day in 1973.

Back then, she was 18, just graduated from high school, a daughter of divorce eager to spend time with her dad and learn the family business. She tagged along on a concert tour and talked music during the long bus rides. When Johnny Cash grew alarmed at the songs Rosanne didn’t know, he sat down with a pad and pen.

What he produced was a syllabus worthy of a master professor: Johnny Cash’s list of the “100 Essential Country Songs.”

Twelve of those songs make up The List, Cash’s new CD. Her first covers album includes duets with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy and Rufus Wainwright.

Cash had put the list away after learning many of the songs. She had her own path to forge. It was forgotten until she happened upon it late in 2005, while writing narrative portions of her Black Cadillac stage show. She talked about it during the concerts and fans would ask when she was going to record the songs. Her husband, music producer and guitarist John Leventhal, no doubt smiled.

“My husband has been telling me for 17 years, ‘Your voice is really well-suited to these songs,’ and I would go, ‘I’m a songwriter, I’m a songwriter,” she said. “Well, it turns out my voice really is well-suited to these songs.”

The disc showcases some of the best singing in Cash’s career, as she faces the challenge of carrying melodies other than her own and putting her stamp on songs already well known. The often spare arrangements also emphasize Leventhal’s guitar.

Cash begins with Miss the Mississippi and You, which the father of country music, Jimmie Rodgers, recorded in 1932.

She ends with the Carter Family’s Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow, which always reminds Cash of her step-aunt Helen Carter, who taught her the guitar.

The disc’s emotional centrepiece is the heartbreak trio of Long Black Veil, a duet with Wilco’s Tweedy on a prisoner’s tale best known through Johnny Cash’s version; the Patsy Cline hit She’s Got You; and Bob Dylan’s Girl From the North Country, a composition that first intimidated Cash because she remembered her father singing it with Dylan on television.

The songs are some of the things that connect father and daughter and, Rosanne believed, it was time to claim the legacy.

“I don’t have that young person’s feeling of trying to get away from my ancestry and parents and what they passed on,” she said. “In fact, I want to embrace it, so I can show it and pass it along to my own (five) kids. It’s just unseemly at my age (54) to be doing that kind of ’chip on your shoulder’ rebellion.”

On the Net: http://www.rosannecash.com

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Utah truck driver is jailed without bond after crash kills 6

HEBER, Utah — A man suspected of driving under the influence remained… Continue reading

A ragged, growing army of migrants resumes march toward US

TAPACHULA, Mexico — A ragged army of Honduran migrants streamed through southern… Continue reading

Postal workers to begin strikes in 4 Canadian cities Monday if deal not reached

OTTAWA — The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees says it will… Continue reading

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Most Read