Rosanne Cash on Johnny Cash, Country Covers and Supergroups
When Rosanne Cash was 18, her father Johnny Cash gave her a hand-written list entitled '100 Essential Country Songs.' Rosanne was a budding songwriter and dad was alarmed that his Beatles-obsessed daughter lacked a deep understanding of country music. He compiled the list and told her to learn every song.
In the fall of 2009, Rosanne Cash released 'The List,' an album covering some of the tunes Johnny Cash recommended that day, including Hank Williams' 'Take These Chains From My Heart,' Merle Haggard's 'Silver Wings,' Bob Dylan's 'Girl From The North Country' and the Carter Family's 'Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow.' Cash then invited collaborators like Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Rufus Wainwright and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, who guests on 'Long Black Veil,' the Lefty Frizzell song her father made famous.
Rosanne Cash spoke to Spinner about taking a trip through the history of country music and recording the songs that were so special to her late father.
Tell me about 'The List' and why you decided to record these songs after so many years.
It's paradoxical. You don't really think about what your parents leave you until they're not here anymore. It seems to be that way for everyone. I've talked to friends who have lost their parents and they've been like, "Yeah I didn't care about that set of china until mom was gone." In the same way, I didn't think about the list until dad was gone. I wrote a narrative about it that went in the Black Cadillac show. Even then, I didn't think of making a record based on it. I just thought, "oh well, this is a nice thing to