Sunday, July 12, 2009

List of Burdens

You know I actually attempted to draft this before I even attended the event. What was I thinking? I ended up scrapping the entire thing and starting over. Lesson learned.

Last night we went down to Kent State (yes, that Kent State - more on that in another post) to see Rosanne Cash perform. I'm a long time fan and this would have been only the second time in 30 years (!!) to see her.

It was a different mode this time. Three years ago she had a band. This time it was her and her husband, John Leventhal (not my brother-in-law, but another Jon Leventhal). Leventhal has produced most of Cash's music since 1993's The Wheel. He is an incredible songwriter, arranger and multi-instrumentalist.

Yup, just two of them, two mics and an acoustic guitar each. It was pretty amazing in that regards - especially Leventhal who made his six-string shine. Picking and strumming at the same time, making it play like a guitar and bass all at once. Cash herself is an underrated guitarist. It's easy to get lost when you're playing with a full band, I suppose.

Cash was in fine form vocally. Possibly the strongest I have heard her. I wasn't sure what she'd be doing, as I didn't think she was really promoting her 3.5 year old disk, Black Cadillac, and her new disk, The List isn't out until October.

It turns out she was seemingly promoting both. Each of these got seven songs covered. That did not leave a lot for the rest of her other eight album catalog. Only five songs to be exact. I found that a little disappointing. Five of her disks went completely unrepresented.

Kent Stage is this little venue. If it holds a thousand folks I'd be surprised. If it were two-thirds fill I'd be even a little more surprised, though still disappointed more did not come out to see her. She's more than proven herself as an artist in her own right and not just her father's daughter - though she did cover two of his songs. Lineage is a hard thing to break.

There were highlights of course. She started out with "I'm Moving On", a song from her upcoming disk. I had heard it streamed from her website (scroll to the bottom of the page). And while I like much of what she does, it was kind of nice to hear her touch on her country background again. If you listen to the stream, imagine how it was done live - Leventhal played it all on one guitar. It was pretty incredible.

I'm a big fan of "September When it Comes", which she recorded first solo (Transatlantic Sessions) and then as a duet with her father. I was not a fan of the latter, but the former was terrific. She pulled it of flawlessly.

The other stand outs for me were both from the to-be-released, The List - which is a covers disk of what her father told her were essential country songs she had to know. "Motherless Child" (done by a plethora of folks before her) and "500 Miles", which I'm sure many have done, but I played it by Peter, Paul & Mary hundreds of times as a child.

I will say, the seats were sooooo uncomfortable. Getting back in the car for our 50 minute drive home I felt I needed a big massage to work out the kinks in my lower back.

Anyhoo....I know she doesn't play often, just a dozen or so performances per year. But if she's in your neck of the woods, you should certainly try to catch her. Or them.

Song by: Rosanne Cash

1 comment:

rebecca said...

You've always loved Kathy Matteo.