Rosanne Cash Talks Latest Album, Projects in the Works

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Next Thursday, April 25, country music royalty comes to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, as Rosanne Cash takes the stage with her band for a night full of new songs, old tunes and unforgettable memories. Promoting her latest album, She Remembers Everything—the anticipated and now-acclaimed follow-up to her triple Grammy-winning masterpiece The River and the Thread—Cash will showcase new material, as well as more than a few “chestnuts” from the back catalogue, and preview music she has written for an upcoming stage musical inspired by the 1979 film Norma Rae. In an exclusive interview with SRQ, the artist talks inspiration and urgency, #MeToo and the power of art. Look for the full interview in an upcoming issue of SRQ magazine.

What’s the story behind this latest album, She Remembers Everything? Cash: The last three albums I did were very much constructed around a theme—The River and the Thread being about the south, The List being the list of songs that my dad gave me (they were all covers), then Black Cadillac, which was really a map of mourning and about death and loss. Everybody was saying, "These are great. River and Thread was so successful. You should do another themed record."

But you weren’t sure that’s what you wanted to do? I felt myself resisting that with all my might. I really wanted to return to personal songwriting and just write what my next 12 songs were, you know? I felt this sense of urgency about it, in fact. Women my age still have a lot to say and a lot less time to say it. I felt that if I were going to have any regrets about it, it would be about not saying these things. Sales and reviews be damned.

And you’ve also been working on a musical version of Norma Rae? It's been a few years. I wrote the lyrics. John Leventhal wrote the music. John Weidman wrote the book. We're nearing the point where we're going to stage it. That should happen in 2020. I'm really excited about that.

What about that story drew you in? It seems timely, because it's not just about union organizing and that kind of social community. It's about a woman's transformation, and her transformation through finding a mission and through creating community. That just seemed like a very powerful story and very timely.

Why is it important to tell these stories? Music and art have tremendous power to change people's hearts and minds, whether the subject matter is overt or whether it's just about feeling. Because once people access their own feelings, then things start to change. I'm fully committed to the power of art and music to change the world.

Cash will be performing April 25 at the Van Wezel, tickets are currently on sale.

Pictured: Rosanne Cash. Photo by Michael Lavine.

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