I awoke, slightly bleary-eyed from not nearly enough sleep, and headed for the kitchen one morning last week.
To my surprise, placed there by my coffeepot was a gift from my son. It wasn’t my birthday, and I hadn’t earned a gift, but there it was nonetheless.
“Mom, I heard you say you’d like to hear this. I hope you enjoy it. Love, Cort.”
A little Cash. It was the new Roseanne Cash collection of songs, the best surprise I could have hoped to find, and I couldn’t wait to hear it.
The CD opens with the voice of Johnny Cash, captured on tape long ago, saying to his oldest daughter, “Roseanne, say c’mon,” and his voice gives way to her voice singing, Black Cadillac, the title song of her latest CD:
It was a black Cadillac that drove you away.
Everybody’s talkin’ but they don’t have much to say.
It was a dark sky of rain, none of it fell.
One of us gets to go to heaven, one has to stay here in hell.
She sings of the day she laid her father to rest.
As I listen to the songs written and produced by this woman who is about my age, I am touched by the lyrics, and amazed she is willing to share her private pain and loss in this way.
No one’s daughter. Roseanne Cash wrote these songs during the year she lost not only her famous father, but also her mother Vivian, and her stepmother, June Carter Cash.
Like many of us, she is grappling with the enormous void that remains after the loss of a beloved parent, but she is dealing with the loss of three in one short and painful year.
She speaks of the September day when her father slipped away, “in the middle of my life on the longest day.” She touches on the enormous realization that she is no longer anyone’s daughter, her place in the world forever changed.
Love and God. The song that touches me the most, I Was Watching You, opens with the story of the day her parents married, sealing their fate to become her mom and dad, while she symbolically watches from above, “because long before life, there is love.”
The song closes with the realization that her father is watching her from afar, “because long after life, there is love.”
God Is In the Roses is an incredible piece with striking piano melodies, and the symbolic lyrics are worth more than just a passing listen.
Timeless gift. I have thought many times of the day, several months before Johnny Cash’s death, when I was surprised to hear my son listening to a collection of Cash’s music.
We talked about how this man was legendary in so many ways, able to transcend the changing times in many genres of music, reaching far across the generations, from my father to my son. Many of Cort’s friends listen to Cash’s music endlessly and exclusively.
On that gray, wintry morning, as I listened to this new CD filled with such powerful emotion, I realized there is nothing sweeter than a gift being passed between the generations.
The powerful guitar riffs and moving piano pieces complement the velvet voice of Roseanne Cash throughout. This collection will stand the test of time, true and strong, a wonderful tribute to her father’s stature and the gift he left behind. And what a gift that is!
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