Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rosanne Cash Composed At Barnes and Noble

When I was working in management, I was in awe of two of artists I worked with. I would accompany them on a press day, which essentially meant traveling from interview to interview to performance.    After a day of being asked, mostly the same questions, they were still so eloquent and interesting. They could take a mundane question and transform the answer into not only great sound bites, but also captivating answers.  Both of these artists are artists in the true sense of the word:  they write and perform music (their mainstay), they write prose and essays, they paint.  They are culturally well rounded. They are Louie Perez and Rosanne Cash.  Both have put out new material in the past two weeks.  Louie’s band Los Lobos released Tin Can Trust last week and Rosanne Cash released her memoir Composed yesterday.
Composed: A Memoir 
Rosanne was at Barnes & Noble yesterday as part of their series Upstairs at the Square.  In an interview she talked about the difference between writing music (she uses poetic license) and writing a memoir (it has to be her “truth”).  She read an excerpt from her book about getting an assignment in the seventh grade to write a piece on metaphor and it excited her.  At the time she was writing music for The Wheel, her mother sent her a folder of her artwork and writings from her school days.  In it was this essay on metaphors in which she wrote the line The lonely road is a body guard, which made it’s way into the song Sleeping In Paris, which appears on The Wheel.  She always wanted to be a writer and then she wanted to be a songwriter, not necessarily a performer.  Her love of performing live came later. 

According to Rosanne, the book is organized thematically.  One recollection let to another in ways she wouldn’t have connected the events had she not been writing a memoir.  She talked about The List her father made for her of the 100 essential American songs she should know. This became the inspiration for her latest record The List. Her daughter Chelsea Crowell, a musician, asked her mom to make her a list. Rosanne said she’s still working on it’s as it’s a big responsibility. 

The icing on the cake of an enlightening evening was her performance of Seven Year Ache and two from The List which she performed with the accomplished musician/producer John Leventhal :  Sea of Heartbreak and Girl From the North Country. 

I’m looking forward to starting her book today.  She has an amazing command of the English language and I’m sure this book is sheer poetry.

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