Rosanne Cash has chops—both hard-earned and genetic. Although not often thought of as a superstar herself, the oldest daughter of Johnny Cash crawled from working backstage as a wardrobe assistant for her dad, to being a background singer, finally a soloist, and ultimately the winner of a Grammy and nine other nominations, 11 number one country hit singles,21 top 40 country singles, and two gold records. Not too shabby.
Performing at Spoleto Festival USA on Sunday night in the TD Ameritrade Arena, Cash delivered an assortment of new material from an upcoming album, but focused on paying homage to the artists who have come before her—some of them friends and family members—many of the songs from her 2009 album The List. The List came about because at age 18 her dad had given her a list of 100 seminal songs in country and American music—she picked 12 to record with folks like Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, and Jeff Tweedy.
If only one word could be used to describe the concert it would be “professional.” Performing with her band of solid musicians, the Keith to her Mick and the Big Man to her Bruce is her husband, co-writer, lead guitarist, producer, and partner John Leventhal. Throughout the evening, the two bounced off one another both musically and with the kind of quips only a husband and wife team can deliver.
Highlights of the night included, from The List, "Long Black Veil," recorded in 1959 by Lefty Frizzell, written by Danny Dill, Marijohn Wilkin, and covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, and Joni Mitchell on the first Johnny Cash show in 1969, as well as The Band, Mick Jagger, Joan Baez, Emilou Harris and Dave Matthews. Also from The List was Dylan’s 1963 "Girl from the North Country," re-recorded in a duet with Johnny Cash in 1969. Other List songs performed included "Five Hundred Miles" by Hedy West and a take on the traditional "Motherless Children."
Of course Cash’s show would have not been complete without a rendition of her 1981 Billboard country chart number one, and Billboard pop chart number 22, "Seven Year Ache."
Bob Jolley - publisher, Muddy Ford Press