Rosanne Cash and Blue Lights

I’ve been a fan of Rosanne Cash’s since hearing her 1981 smash single “Seven Year Ache” and buying the album of the same name. I’ve seen her live a few times: at WNYC’s the Greene Space, singing songs her father, Johnny Cash, recommended to her as classics, from her album The List (2009); at Carnegie Hall performing songs from The River & the Thread, an artful odyssey (listen to “A Feather’s Not a Bird” and “Modern Blue”), which won several Grammys, including best Americana album, in 2015; and at an event in 2018 that she hosted at St. Luke in the Fields, in the West Village, where she spoke about the urgent need for gun control and sang relevant songs like “By Degrees,” with the song’s writer, Mark Erelli, and her own “Western Wall.” I spoke to her at the church reception that evening, and I’d previously met her at a book signing for her 1996 collection of short stories, Bodies of Water.

For the re-release of The Wheel, Pamela Springsteen photographed Cash near the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park, as she had 30 years before.

Last month she re-released her luminous album The Wheel for it’s 30th anniversary, and recently I interviewed her about that—the album marked a pivotal moment in her life—and more (including Bodies of Water) for The Village Voice. You can read it here. She was quite lovely to talk to and I'm looking forward to watching her perform songs from the album at City Winery NYC in January.

Also: happy holidays! A few years ago, in honor of my Christmas song, “Blue Lights,” and my parents, who inspired the song, I wrapped blue lights around a plant stand (in lieu of a tree) and never took them off, though I remember to plug them in more often in December. Last year I put out a lyric video, designed by Christine Haire of Presto Fox, using photos of my mom and dad and their wartime letters. You may have seen it but in case not, or if you’d like to revisit, it's awaiting you on YouTube (and comments are welcome)!

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