Rosanne Cash – Raise The Roof Fundraiser – Oct. 26, 2017

Rosanne Cash – Oct 26 Fundraiser

 

Rosanne Cash is one of the most respected female artists in the music business. She has released 15 critically acclaimed albums, has won 4 GRAMMY Awards, been nominated for 11 more and has 21 Top 40 hits, including 11 that went to Number 1. She is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and on October 25, she will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame along with Roy Orbison and the Neville Brothers.  The next night she will be here in New Braunfels for a special ‘Raise The Roof’ Fundraiser for the Brauntex Theatre.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1955, she is the oldest daughter of Johnny Cash and his first wife Vivian Liberto. She has three sisters, Tara, Cindy and Kathy and a half brother, John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny and his second wife, June Carter.  Growing up in a musical household can be both a blessing and a curse, especially if your father is Johnny Cash. Being the oldest child meant Rosanne had to grow up quicker than her siblings, and she was determined to make her own way in the music business.  After graduating from high school she joined her father’s road show so she could learn the business. At first she worked in the background helping with the wardrobe, then moved to background vocalist and eventually handling solo spots in the show.

After brief stints working for CBS Records in London and studying drama at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Rosanne was ready to give the music business another try. In January of 1978 she recorded some demos with Rodney Crowell, who at that time was a member of Emmylou Harris’ band. This led to an offer from a German based label to record her debut album. It was never released in America but CBS Records liked what they heard and offered her a recording contract. She and Crowell started work on her first album for CBS, titled ‘Right or Wrong.’ By the time the album was released, she and Rodney were married.

Together she and Rodney had three daughters and produced six critically acclaimed albums including 1987’s ‘King’s Record Shop’ that featured four Number 1 hits. She and Crowell divorced in 1992 and she relocated to New York City. Moving to the Big Apple was good for Rosanne and soon she was writing again, both songs and short stories. By 1995 she was married to John Leventhal, a songwriter and producer who helped her complete ‘The Wheel,’ her final album for CBS. In 1998, she and John were working on her ‘Rules of Travel’ album but had to stop recording when she became pregnant with her son Jakob and then developed polyps on her vocal cords.  Unable to sing for two years, she focused on her writing, which included a children’s book and a collection of short stories.  After regaining her voice, she continued to tour and record.

Her father Johnny and her stepmother June both passed away in 2003 and her mother Vivian passed away in 2005. She dealt with her grief through her music and released ‘Black Cadillac’ in 2006. It remains one of my favorite albums in her extensive catalog. Trying times came again in 2007 when Rosanne underwent brain surgery for a rare condition called Chiari I Malformation. Recovery was tough and took over a year before she was able to resume live performances. After 40 years in the business, many artists would start slowing things down a bit, but not Rosanne. She comes from a long line of survivors and today she is still at a creative high point in her career.

When it came time to pick an artist for the Brauntex Theatre’s 75th year celebration fundraiser, Rosanne Cash was an obvious choice. The historic venue was in dire need of a new roof, so October 26 was scheduled for a ‘Raise The Roof’ with Rosanne Cash Fundraiser. I had the pleasure of interviewing Rosanne recently before she took the stage at a concert in Rhode Island.  “I’m thrilled to be a part of this event,” said Rosanne when she answered my call. “I love playing in those old theatres. We perform in a lot of them and they always sound great, and they are so beautiful. It is so inspiring that the community cares enough to restore these old buildings.” When I told her that Marty Stuart and Rodney Crowell both recommended her for our fundraiser, she laughed and said “Oh, now the pressure is on, I need to sell this show out!” We talked about her induction into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame plus her membership in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in Nashville. “I’m incredibly proud of that,” she explained. “When I started writing songs at 18, that was the ultimate goal. My dad and I are in there together, not many people can say that. I think every songwriter feels that way.”

We covered many topics during our conversation, such as the set list for her shows. “Well, I have 40 year’s worth of material to choose from so it’s hard to come up with an hour and a half show that pleases everybody. Obviously there are some songs, like ‘Seven Year Ache, that I never leave out. Hopefully people will come away feeling like they aren’t disappointed and that they heard something that inspired them.” We also discussed new music and projects. “I’m writing songs right now, both for myself and also for a musical. My husband John is composing the music for it and we are working with a book writer and a director. We are about two years into that project, it’s a big project and it’s very challenging. I’m also writing songs for my next record, which I’ll hopefully be able to get out very soon.”

As we were ending our conversation, I filled Rosanne in on the history of the theatre and explained that many local individuals donated money to the project and businesses like T & F Construction, Bravo Roofing, Carl Electric Company, Best Acoustical and BETCO Scaffolds all pitched in to work within a very tight deadline. It was time for her to go onstage, but she closed with some final words about the fundraiser. “I’m just thrilled to be a part of this event. I really believe in communities that come together to save these old theatres for music and the arts. It’s so essential to our towns to do this and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Tickets for the October 26 ‘Raise the Roof’ Fundraiser are available online at Brauntex.org, by phone at 830-627-0808 or at the Brauntex box office at 290 W. San Antonio Street.

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