Grammy-award winner Rosanne Cash on 21st Century Radio

Rosanne Cash on beach
"Rosanne Cash"
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Two very musical hours on 21st Century Radio, May 25, 2003 7-9 PM Eastern time. Hour One, we're excited about the return of Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash to tell us about her first studio album in ten years, Rules of Travel. Cash wrote or co-wrote eight of the 11 songs on Rules of Travel, which also features writing contributions from John Leventhal, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan and Joe Henry. Lending their vocals to several songs, are Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle and Teddy Thompson, and Johnny Cash performs a stunningly beautiful-and unprecedented-duet with his daughter. See more about her recent achievements in the article below or at:

Second hour, we'll talk with Tim Neely, about his new book, The Goldminetm Standard Catalog of © Rhythm & Blues Records. This is the most comprehensive collector's guide to post-World War II rhythm & blues records ever. Focusing on classic R&B from 1946-71, the Goldmine(tm) Standard Catalog of(r) Rhythm & Blues Records contains more than 40,000 entries in all record formats. Read more about it in the article below or at:

That's Rosanne Cash and Rhythm and Blues, Sunday, May 25, 2003, at 7 PM Eastern, on 21st Century Radio with Dr. Bob Hieronimus on Talk Radio 680 WCBM!

To listen live on May 25, 2003, 7-9 PM or to the archived show after May 30, 2003, visit our home page or go directly to our archives page by clicking here.

Order Rosanne Cash's CD here:
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Rosanne Cash- Rules of Travel On March 25, 2003, Capitol Records will release Rules Of Travel, the first studio album in ten years from Grammy award winning singer/songwriter/musician Rosanne Cash. Cash wrote/co-wrote eight of the 11 songs on Rules of Travel, which also features writing contributions from John Leventhal, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan and Joe Henry. Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle and Teddy Thompson lend their vocals to several songs, and Johnny Cash performs a stunningly beautiful-and unprecedented-duet with his daughter.

Perhaps her most remarkable work to date, Rules Of Travel almost didn't get made. While beginning work on the record in 1998, Cash suddenly lost her voice and was unable to sing for more than two years. Autumn of 2000 brought encouraging signs and, after much work with a voice therapist, Cash was able to successfully resume work on Rules of Travel. The record resonates with the different sounds and themes of her career, unified by the high level of songwriting and musicianship-and yes, singing-that everyone expects from her recordings.

"It was such a revelation losing my voice, and getting it back," says Cash. "I feel a lot of passion about singing, and a lot less fear."

Rules of Travel was recorded at 12th Street Studio, Sear Sound and New York Noise in New York City and was produced by John Leventhal (Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Joan Osborne).

A Grammy award winning singer and songwriter, Rosanne Cash has released ten albums over the last 20 years, charted 11 #1 singles and earned numerous accolades for songwriting and performance.


It almost didn't get made.

"I lost my voice," says Rosanne Cash. "Completely, for two and a half years. Some days I couldn't speak."

She'd begun work on the album with her husband, the producer/songwriter/guitarist John Leventhal, in the summer of 1998, and almost immediately learned she was pregnant. A polyp shut down her vocal chords, making singing impossible. The songs had been written, and they were good ones: Rules of Travel was already looking to be a landmark in Rosanne's career. In addition-1996's 10 Song Demo aside-it would be her first major album since The Wheel, in 1993. But suddenly everything stopped. There was nothing she could do-except continue, as she says, with "this little cottage industry I'd developed" as a writer: a short story collection, a children's book, magazine work. And, of course, take care of her new baby, Jake, whose arrival-frustratingly-did not restore his mother's singing voice.

"We shelved the project," Rosanne says. "I wasn't too worried in the beginning, but after I gave birth and still didn't have my voice back, I started getting anxious. It turned into an identity crisis. I started thinking about who I was without my voice. Interestingly, I never wanted to be a singer. From the time I was nine years old, all I wanted to be was a writer. Well, one thing leads to another, you end up doing your own songs. Not to say it was an unconscious choice, but I've always been ambivalent about being a performer." When she lost her voice, she says, she had to re-evaluate all of that. "And I realized it had become a central part of my identity, and that I liked it, and now who was I without it?"

During this period she didn't even touch a guitar ("too depressing") and wondered whether she'd made her last record. Happily, that proved to be far from the truth: the new record would not only be completed, it would be astonishing.

Rosanne noticed the first encouraging signs that her voice was returning in autumn of 2000. "I was relieved, but I also thought that maybe it had been damaged and it wouldn't be like it was," she says. She saw a voice therapist, who told her, "Your voice is seriously out of shape. You can get it back." The breakthrough came when he gave her an Italian aria to sing. "We had worked on it before and I was struggling with it, and he said, 'Go ahead and be falsely operatic! Fake it! Make a lot of mistakes!'" she says, laughing. "And it worked. And I was so happy. It was a thrilling moment."

Work resumed on Rules of Travel. "I had to reacquaint myself with all these songs," Rosanne says. "Although I was happy to have my voice back, John initially had more of a drive to finish it than I did. But about midway through, I started to get really passionate about it."

Now it's the listeners' turn to get passionate. Rosanne has never sounded as deeply compelling as she does on these eleven tracks. And after all the travails, that remarkable voice sounds better than ever, perhaps in part because it has been so missed. The songs themselves resonate with themes encompassing her entire career, but Rules of Travel has a timeless yet decidedly contemporary feel. The elegantly crisp and spare production is by John Leventhal, and there are a few notable guest vocalists: Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Teddy Thompson . . . and, on the stunning "September When It Comes," Johnny Cash.

Surprisingly, Rosanne and her father had scarcely ever sung together. She'd navigated through country music early in her career-11 #1 singles-and she's still happy to be part of that world and recognized for it, but she'd always gone her own way. Still, timing is everything.

"He was in bad health, he got very ill for a while," she remembers about the period when she'd resumed work on the album. "I was facing my dad's mortality for the first time. It's deeply unsettling when you come to that point in your life when your parents suddenly become frail and ill. Of course, I was very affected by it. So I called him-I was going down to Nashville anyway-and I said, 'Dad, I'm gonna bring the tape, and if you're feeling well enough when I'm down there....' He said, 'I can't promise, but if I feel well enough I will.' And I could tell that morning he really didn't feel well, but he said he would do it. So we went over to the little studio he has in the woods."

As her father learned the song, Rosanne says, his energy started to perk up. "He was getting into doing it," she says, smiling. "And then he was calling for more takes: 'No, let me try that part again!' When we finished, I said, 'Dad, it's beautiful, you sound great.'"

His response?

"He said, 'No, now you take that back to New York and play it for John, and if it's not good enough, then I will fly to New York and I'll re-do it for you.'"

There was no need, as anyone who's heard the track can attest.

"It was a very moving experience," Rosanne says now. "I was actually crying in the studio." Her dad, of course, later told her, You know, I really could have done it better.

"September When It Comes" is but one of many extraordinary moments on Rules of Travel, and even Rosanne is happy with this record that almost wasn't.

"Once we finished it," she says, laughing, "I thought we had a really good record."

As always, understatement becomes her.



BEAUTIFUL PAIN (Craig Northey)
With Sheryl Crow
"One of those aching pop songs. Craig was in a band called the Odds-a great band from Canada-so John called him and said, Would you write a song? And he sent the song within two weeks. I was actually embarrassed because it was so much like me-he really had my number, he really understood my motives as a writer. I was kind of shocked. But I was also moved that he had looked that deep, and taken the time. I love him as a lyricist-to use 'fragrant moss' in a pop song! And we knew Sheryl's voice would be perfect."

(Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal, Robert Burke Warren)
"I started writing this when I was 44. I thought, What if you had a story for each year of your life-what if it was that tidy? And the more poignant idea, to me, was the thought of having someone who wanted to hear every one of them, who was that good a listener, who loved you so much he would go to great lengths just to hear your stories. I got stuck mid-way through the lyrics, and called in my good friend Robert Warren to assist. He has just the right poetic touch for this theme."

(Rosanne Cash)
With Steve Earle
"I did this on Austin City Limits several years ago, and all of the male answers in the song were different. I knew they weren't right, and they remained unwritten literally until the day Steve came in-that's when I finished the last one. The song is very erotic to me. And very obsessive."

(Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal)
"This took me three years to write. The chorus came very quickly, and John said, 'This could be the best chorus you ever wrote.' So that put the pressure on immediately. I rewrote the verses many, many times. John rewrote the melody to the verses many, many times. I knew what it was about-the metaphor of getting inside someone, intimacy, and how careful you have to be with somebody else's heart-but I have reams of lyrics that were discarded. I finally went into the studio and sat in front of John and finished it. He stared at me until I finished it. And we recorded it that day."

(Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal)
With Johnny Cash
"I hesitate to try to explain this song. It is about mortality, certainly, but it's also about living with what is unresolved in your own heart. And it's about more than that, but I wouldn't want to take away any individual interpretations. I wrote the lyrics on the Long Island Expressway, in the car, and John wrote the music. I had just recorded it myself, and John said, 'Your dad should sing on this.' I thought, 'I don't know, people will think it's some kind of novelty or something.' And he said, 'I think it's important, he should sing on it.'"

(Jakob Dylan, Joe Henry)
"Joe is a friend of mine, and I admire his, and Jakob's, writing so much that we asked them to write a song for me. I was a bit nervous when we got the tape, thinking, How am I going to tell them if I don't like it? But before it got to the chorus I knew it was for me. I couldn't have written this song myself, and yet it feels so familiar."

(John Leventhal, Marc Cohn)
With Teddy Thompson
"There are three songs on the record that are not mine, and I always wanted there to be more, I always wanted to go half and half. As I told John, I was so sick of the sound of my own thoughts. I just could not bear to say anything else about me or my feelings, I'd reached saturation point. This was a beautiful departure. And I'm just crazy about Teddy's voice."

(Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal)
"This one I really fought for. I'd written the lyrics, and we were in the studio, and John said, 'Do we really need another sensitive song like this?' And I said, Please. And he went out and wrote the melody that day. Another song about mortality. But more resolution in this one."

(Rosanne Cash)
"I was sitting at a stop light and I got the idea from the rear-view mirror-'OBJECTS ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR'-and I said, 'God, what a great idea for a country song.' I couldn't believe no one had written it. It seemed so obvious. I actually wrote it with the idea of pitching it to a man to sing. And then I couldn't get any men to record it."

(Rosanne Cash)
"This song is also on 10 Song Demo. John loves it and thought not enough people had heard it. So he re-did the solo and that was that. I went to Israel a few times in my youth, and I remember standing in front of the Wailing Wall-I loved the whole idea of writing a prayer on a tiny piece of paper and putting it into a crack in the wall, and believing that someone or something is going to receive that prayer. It's a powerful idea."

(Rosanne Cash)
"I wrote this song for Linda Ronstadt. She asked if I had anything, so I tried to put myself in the position of how I would want to sing it if I had as great a voice as Linda. And she ended up recording 'Western Wall' instead. Then I tried to palm it off on Trisha Yearwood . . . and she ended up recording 'Seven Year Ache' instead. So I thought, Well, I guess I'm supposed to record it. I have to step into character to sing this song-and the character feels far more resignation than I do."

Goldminetm Standard Catalog of © Rhythm & Blues Records

Tim Neely
Softcover 812x11
488 pages 100+ b&w photos
8-page color section
Price: $24.95
The record collecting community has been clamoring for a book such as this for more than two decades, and at last, it's here. The most comprehensive collector's guide to post-World War II rhythm & blues records ever.

Focusing on classic R&B from 1946-71, the Goldminetm Standard Catalog of © Rhythm & Blues Records contains more than 40,000 entries in all record formats-78s, 45s, extended plays, albums, and 12-inch singles. More recent releases are also featured. Pricing is included for each listing in up to three grades of condition. More than 100 photos of rarely seen and popular R&B records adorn the pages of this groundbreaking volume.

Author and record expert Tim Neely is a regular contributor to Goldminetm magazine. This is his 17th record price guide.

* First readily available price guide to R&B records in more than 20 years
* The most comprehensive price guide to post-World War II R&B and related musical forms ever
* Written by record expert Tim Neely, author of the best-selling Goldminetm Standard Catalog of © American Records series
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