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Roseanne Cash Grandly Carries on the Family Tradition

Being the son or daughter of a celebrity seems to be a particular burden. Especially if the parent is extremely famous and if the kid goes into the same line of work.

I can’t think of anyone who has handled it better than Roseanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s daughter. The other examples that come to mind in contemporary music are Julian Lennon, Jakob Dylan and Dhani Harrison. They all have a lot of talent and they all went into the family business. While the three have had some success, Cash enjoyed the most critical acclaim.

Those are four intimidating parents, at least from the artistic and profile points of view. It’s interesting to note that Cash is the only case in which the parent and kid are different sexes. That, perhaps, makes her music a bit more differentiated and the comparisons a bit less direct.

The Wikipedia profile says that Cash is the daughter of the elder Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin. She was born in 1955 which, as the profile points out, is around the time her father was making his first recordings for Sun Records. Cash was raised by Distin and had little to do with the musical end of her father’s life until joining his road show after graduating from high school. At first, Cash handled the group’s laundry.

The two must have had interesting conversations about Cash’s experience with The Carter Family, the country music royalty into which he married.

She is not all about music. Cash studied England and drama at Vanderbilt University and acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in Los Angeles. She has published a collection of short stories.

AllMusic’s profile covers much of the same territory, with a nice emphasis on Cash’s albums.

Above is “Sea of Heartbreak” (accompanied by husband John Leventhal) and below is “I’m Movin’ On.”

Wikipedia and AllMusic were used to write this post. Homepage photo: Ron Baker.

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Reading Music

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Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.