She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnn Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
Rosanne Cash’s Lafayette concert, a Performing Arts Society of Acadiana special event, begins at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 9 in the Heymann Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $15 to $50 and can be obtained through Ticketmaster and the Heymann box office.
Cash squeezed a little time between concerts in Europe to answer five questions from IND Media:
1) On the album cover: are you looking forward or are you looking back? Please explain either way.
ROSANNE CASH: Good question. I imagine ... both. I wasn’t thinking in metaphors when we chose that photo for the cover. I was standing on the Tallahatchie Bridge, looking out over the Tallahatchie River, and I thought it was so cool that the bridge, which loomed so large in our minds because of “Ode To Billie Joe,” was where I was actually standing. We mention the bridge in our song “Money Road” and that song came from the day we visited the bridge. But of course, it’s a reflective photo and you can say that in the same way the territory of the record is real and imagined, geographical and symbolic, that it is also past and future.
2) We can’t interview you without asking about your father (one of our all-time favorites!): Was there ever a time when you seriously thought of doing something else with your life? Do you feel like you are living in his shadow or did his stardom cast the spotlight on you? Did he ever directly influence you one way or the other (was there ever a daddy-daughter talk about becoming or not becoming a musician)?
RC: No one can every interview me without asking about my father. :)
Of course I thought about doing other things with my life. I was a curious young person with a lot of interests. But I did know I wanted to be a writer. It came clear that I wanted to be a SONGwriter when I was about 18. He encouraged that. He knew how passionately I felt about writing.
If I still felt I was living in his shadow, in middle age, after doing this for 36 years, I would be a sad case.
3) We read about the genesis of the record but could you tell us how it came to be?
RC: It was inspired by many trips down South in a two year period — mostly to the Delta. I reconnected with places I thought were footnotes in my past: Memphis, where I was born, and Dyess, Ark., where my dad grew up. I became involved with Arkansas State University’s project of restoring my dad’s boyhood home and it was very moving to me, to really understand how hard my grandmother’s life was and how my dad grew up. John and I wrote “The Sunken Lands” about my grandmother. We wrote “Etta’s Tune” about Marshall and Etta Grant, who I was very close to and who were married for 65 years. (He was my dad’s original bass player in the Tennessee Two, and he died in 2011, when we were in Memphis and Arkansas on one of the first in this series of trips.) We also spent time in Alabama, with my friend Natalie Chanin, who taught me to sew. (Hence ‘the Thread’.) We took a trip straight down Highway 61 and ended up in New Orleans, and played Tipitina’s at the end of that particular road trip. We went to Robert Johnson’s grave, and Dockery Farms, Miss., where so many of the great blues musicians worked the cotton fields. We were deeply inspired and the idea for the record took root.
4) This album is a critic’s darling. Everything we’ve read on it is very, very favorable. Coming at this point in your life/career, how does that feel? Have the critics come around to Rosanne or has Rosanne come around to the critics? Does this influence your next move in one way or another?
RC: It feels great, but ... this isn’t my first record to receive good reviews! I don’t have a feeling they ‘came around’. Or I ‘came around’ ... not sure what that means. I haven’t been courting anyone. I have a pretty solid career and I work from my own instincts and inspiration.
It’s dangerous to allow critics to influence your work, so no, reviews will not determine what I do next.
5) In some of the press we’ve read about the record, we saw that trips through the South involved travelling in Louisiana. Can you walk us through one of the Louisiana trips or tell us how our state influenced the record?
RC: On our trip down Highway 61, John and I stopped in Baton Rouge and played a fantastic little roadside ‘living room’ type venue called the Red Dragon. It was really, really fun. Not our usual kind of venue, as we usually play theaters or arts centers, and this was a tiny place with sofas and armchairs for the audience. They were incredibly enthusiastic and the owners were so gracious.
Then we went to New Orleans. We ate at Cochon, Upperline in the Garden District, and other great restaurants, wandered around and soaked it up. Then we performed at Tipitina’s. Again, a total high. I had more fun on those two shows — at Red Dragon and Tipitina’s — than at many of the fanciest arts centers in the world.