Music News & Reviews

Rosanne Cash forges her own path

Rosanne Cash will perform at Duke on Dec. 10th.
Rosanne Cash will perform at Duke on Dec. 10th.

It’s not easy being the progeny of an icon. Sure, it will open some doors if your parent is an accomplished and famous entertainer. But the pressure of carving out your own career follows.

The late Johnny Cash was not just a legend but an argument could be made that the Man in Black was the greatest country singer of all time.

His daughter Rosanne Cash didn’t just follow in the footsteps of her father to forge a solid career. Cash, 60, is an icon as well. The gifted and consistent recording artist has enjoyed considerable success. The literate, provocative songsmith has 11 singles that have topped the country chart, and she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October.

“I have no complaints,” says Cash, who will perform Thursday at Duke University’s Page Auditorium. “It’s been a great career.”

And it’s far from over; Cash is still making impressive albums.

“The River & the Thread,” which dropped in 2014, is a moving Americana project inspired by Cash’s restoring her father’s boyhood home in Arkansas. Cash made an earnest and intimate Southern sounding album, which was written with her husband, John Leventhal.

“Making this album wasn’t a conscious thing,” Cash says. “It just happened naturally. We took a number of trips to the South. We went to Alabama and to the Delta and it was really inspiring. John and I wrote the whole album together. It was the first complete collaboration for us. It was great since we bring out the best in each other. We got so much great feedback. I’m glad people like it.”

That album earned Cash three Grammy Awards in February. She scored hardware for Best Americana Album for “The River & the Thread,” Best American Roots Song with Leventhal and Best American Roots Performance for “A Feather’s Not a Bird.”

It’s been an extraordinary year for Cash and her career. Cash emerged as a country artist but she was never tied to a genre. Folk, pop, blues, rock and Americana are some of the styles she has embraced during her storied career. “I never saw the point of just playing one type of music,” Cash says. “I just go with what moves me.”

Cash has only released five albums since 1991 but that’s partly due to her other interest, which is writing. She has written two books, and her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and the Oxford American.

“I don’t see the point of just doing one thing,” Cash says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to do some different things and I’m going to continue to do what I need to do.”


Who: Rosanne Cash

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Duke University’s Page Auditorium, 402 Chapel Drive, Durham.

Cost: Tickets are $40, $45 and $55; $15 ages 30 and under; $10 for Duke students.

Info: 919-684-4444,