At least since 1981, when she released her gold album “Seven Year Ache,” Roseanne Cash has handled her famous name, famous father and the extended Carter family with dignity and grace. She’s a multi-Grammy winner, a superb songwriter and a wonderful live act. Of course WC – apparently COVID-19 free himself – braved the risk of infected Idahoans and attended her show at the Egyptian Theater here in Boise. About half the seats were empty; it’s a matter of priorities. But for WC, it was absolutely worth the risk.
Accompanied by her husband, songwriter and terrific guitarist and pianist John Leventhal, she knocked WC’s socks off in an hour and a half long set. She’s a skilled story teller, has excellent rapport with her audience, and has an amazing set of pipes as well. It was a pleasure to watch Roseanne and John interact with each other on stage, too. Married nearly 25 years now, they are comfortable with each other, enjoy working together and perform flawlessly.
Cash has fourteen albums now, but most of the songs she did for us came from four: her Grammy-Award-winning The River & the Thread, her most recent album, She Remembers Everything, her tribute to country music, The List and Seven Year Ache. She also gave us a spine-tingling cover of Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe”1 and “Wayfaring Stranger” as an encore. She’s a Cash, or course, not a Carter; she’s the daughter of Vivian Cash, Johnny Cash’s first wife. June Carter Cash was her stepmom. But she gave us two Carter Family songs as well.
Cash was terrific, but John Leventhal was terrific, too. His guitar work on “Tennessee Flat Top Box” was amazing, and his harmonies with Roseanne were spot-on. He co-wrote a lot of the songs on Roseanne’s recent albums.
This is a woman who grew up in the shadow of her father, who was a legend in American music. She has made her own path, made her own success as a songwriter, musician, author and activist. She’s proud of her name, proud of her extended family, but has succeeded in going her own way, finding her own path. And has given us some pretty wonderful music. And an excellent concert in the time of coronavirus, likely the last live concert WC will get for some time.
So thank you, Roseanne Cash and John Leventhal. It was a great show, and a special, memorable night.
- WC chose the album cover from The River & the Thread as the lead photo because the photo was taken from the real Talahatchie Bridge. (Well, the real bridge burnt down some years back. From the replacement bridge.) ↩
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