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ROSANNE CASH, a Grammy winner and a celebrated short story writer, has been called "one of the pre-eminent singer/songwriters of her day" (www.allmusic.com). Her songs - unflinchingly honest examinations of the inner journey we take and its impact on our relationships and vice versa - are finely wrought vignettes that while highly personal also strike a universal chord, as reflected in her string of eleven #1 singles.
Born in Memphis, TN on May 24, 1955 to Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto, Rosanne moved to Los Angeles with her mother in the mid-1960s when the couple separated. After high school, she joined her father's road show, working her way up from laundry duty to backup singer to soloist. She studied drama at Nashville's Vanderbilt University and the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles, then spent a year in London, working as a secretary at CBS Records.
Cash's self-titled debut album on a German label in 1978 was followed by her 1979 U.S. debut, Right or Wrong (Columbia Records), produced by Texas singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell, whom she married that same year. "No Memories Hangin' Round," a duet with Bobby Bare, was one of its three Top 25 hits. Her breakthrough album, 1981's Seven Year Ache (also produced by Crowell), went Gold and yielded her first three #1 singles, including the title track. Cash recorded 1982's Somewhere in the Stars during her first pregnancy and it contained two #1 singles, as did 1985's Rhythm & Romance. Rhythm & Romance's "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me" won Cash a Grammy. 1987's King's Record Shop yielded four #1 hits, including John Hiatt's "The Way We Make a Broken Heart." She and Crowell also took "It's Such a Small World" (a duet from his Diamonds & Dirt album) to #1 that year. Cash was named Billboard's Top Singles Artist in 1988 and the next year she released Hits 1979-1989, adding a few new songs and scoring another #1 hit with the Beatles' "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party."
Meanwhile, her marriage to Crowell was crumbling and she fearlessly documented its dissolution in 1990's Interiors and 1993's The Wheel. (The couple divorced in 1991 and in 1995, Cash married John Leventhal, who has produced or co-produced each of her albums from The Wheel on.)
Rosanne bared her soul, professionally speaking, with 1996's 10 Song Demo, her first release on Capitol Records. Captivated by her sparse, emotionally raw home recordings, the president of Capitol suggested releasing the songs as they had been recorded, hence the album's title. 10 Song Demo was a resounding critical success and received a Grammy nomination for "Best Contemporary Folk Album." Cash also published her first book in 1996 - Bodies of Water, a short-story collection.
Cash began recording a new album in 1998 but had to put it aside when she lost her voice for a substantial period. She resumed work on the album two years later and in 2001 she published Songs Without Rhyme: Prose by Celebrated Songwriters, a volume based on one of her own personal tenets: that songwriting is in fact a vibrant form of literature. Thus she asked 13 other renowned songwriters to join her in using the lyrics of one of their songs as a starting point for a piece of prose.
In March of 2003, Cash released the landmark Rules of Travel, which featured duets with Steve Earle and Sheryl Crow and what was to be the last song she would record with her father, "September When It Comes," a stunning rumination on mortality. Her stepmother, June Carter Cash, passed away in May of 2003 followed by her father in September of that year. At the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute concert that aired on CMT in November 2003, the Cash family shared images from their private photo collection in a stunning photomontage, using "September When It Comes" as a backdrop. The montage was subsequently made into poignant music video. Rosanne's mother, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin, died in May of 2005.
In 2006, Rosanne released Black Cadillac, which she describes as "a personal history, family tree, and an archaeological dig into my own life." By examining her family legacy, Cash created a work with deep resonance for anyone who has wrestled with the complexities of mortality, loss, and redemption. Yet the album - hailed by Newsweek as "stunning…her best album ever" - is remarkable not just for the context in which it was created but for the defining achievement it represents in the scope of her own artistry. Over the course of 25 years, Cash has found her truest voice in articulating the most heartbreaking emotional realities: betrayal, loss, misunderstanding, and isolation. But, in the family tradition, she always emerges with a firm belief in the limitless possibilities of personal redemption.