It is difficult to fully comprehend both the amount and diversity of success that Rosanne Cash has achieved in her career.
If you’re keeping track; Ms. Cash is a chart topping recording artist, an artist with 15 full albums over four decades, a multiple Grammy and Billboard award winner, a member of The Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, a best-selling author of four books, an artist-in-residence at Carnegie Hall and a glass-ceiling shattering pioneer. In 1997, the Memphis College of Art gave Cash an honorary doctorate too. At this point, perhaps we should be referring to her as ‘Doctor Cash.’
What’s even more vexing: these incredible achievements are somehow not the first thing one thinks of when they hear her name. Of course, she will always be the daughter of the Man in Black, country music legend Johnny Cash. This is not something she struggles with, her 2009 and album The List is a sublime tribute to his influence on her, but her father’s name is the least of all possible reasons to listen to Rosanne Cash.
“At this moment in my life, I just have so much to say,” says Cash, who returns to the Rose Theatre on Feb. 25. “I am going to do a lot of songs from the River and the Thread as well as some past stuff from The List and Seven Year Ache. We’re also going to be trying out a couple of new songs that I’m really excited about.”
The show features Cash, her band and guitarist/producer John Leventhal; who also happens to be Cash’s husband.
After more than 40 years, Cash’s passion for what she does is immediately evident by the way she talks about her work.
“I like feeling like a beginner,” she says. “I like getting excited about what I am going to do next and about the songs I’m writing.”
She tells a story of visiting the Country Music Awards in Nashville, a few years back, and standing backstage in shock while listening to what was up for song of the year.
“My jaw hit my chest. I remember when Guy Clark brought me to tears with song of the year. This was fill in the blanks songwriting.”
Rather than dwell on a negative, Cash saw that moment as a calling; a chance to remind herself what she loves about music.
“I mean, that’s the function of art and music; to reveal truth to yourself and to community,” she explains, “to elevate your consciousness and to reach for something bigger than yourself!”
The drive to do just that is alive and well in Cash. This year, she is looking to release her 16th album.
“The last two records were concept records. This one is still coalescing but I guess it’s more of my singer/songwriter self.”
She pauses for a moment and takes a second before explaining further.
“My feminist consciousness has been aroused in the last year and some of that is spilling into the songs,” she says. “I think it’s time for all women to say this is enough, no more.”
True to her songwriter self, however, she doesn’t let this statement lie without offering thoughtful perspective on the issue. Cash doesn’t think in hashtags.
“The patriarchy is not just men. It’s a way of doing and a way of of looking at things and a belief system and it’s been so unbalanced for so long,” she says. “It’s really time for something to bring the balance back.”
Balance, passion and perspective; this is why good music endures.
Rosanne Cash: Feb. 25 at The Rose Theatre in Brampton. Tickets are available by calling 905-874-2800 or by visiting www.rosetheatre.ca