She may be Johnny Cash’s daughter but the reason anyone knows Rosanne Cash’s name is because she’s prodigiously talented at singing and songwriting. She’s been a critical and commercial success for several decades, and while Cash is most known for country, her music also touches on blues, folk and rock. She’s recently released her first album of original songs in eight years—2009’s The List (stream it below), covered 12 country classics (pared down from a list of 100 essential songs her father had given her when she was 18). Her husband, singer-guitarist-producer John Leventhal, cowrote and produced the the new LP, The River & the Thread (stream it below), which arrived earlier this year to some considerable acclaim. Paste says, “It is a lovely quilt of musicality, braiding blues, folk, Appalachia, rock and old-timey country; this is balm for lost souls, alienated creatures seeking their core truths and intellectuals who love the cool mist of vespers in the hearts of people they may never encounter.” While the L.A. Times suggests “it’s an album we’ll be looking at in December when it’s time to single out the most powerful works of 2014.” Her tour in support of it brings Rosanne Cash (above, playing “The Sunken Lands” with Leventhal for KCRW FM) home to perform the album tonight at Town Hall.
Tag Archives: John Leventhal
John Prine – Beacon Theatre – September 6, 2013
Since the release of his self-titled debut album in 1971, singer-songwriter John Prine has enjoyed a productive career and honed a unique songwriting style with an ability to oscillate between light, humorous themes and serious, downcast fare. At the Beacon Theatre on Friday night, Prine showcased material from both ends of the emotional spectrum, from the easygoing twang of opening song “Spanish Pipedream” followed by the nostalgic “Picture Show” and the slowed-down, heavy hearted “Humidity Built the Snowman.” Those in the crowd remained rapt throughout each tonal shift, often shouting requests in between songs, or simply imploring, “play all night!”
Although he didn’t oblige this last request, the show covered a range of crowd favorites, including a lovely mandolin-tinged “Angel from Montgomery,” a brisk and lively “Fish and Whistle,” and the political “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You into Heaven Anymore,” which calls out patriotic hypocrisy and “just won’t seem to go out of style,” according to Prine. An affable presence, he spoke with jovial familiarity, cracking jokes at his own expense—“that song took less time to write than it does to sing,” he said of the humorous “Dear Abby”—and peppering the set with anecdotes about his childhood and career.
For the closing songs, Prine and his band selected a poignant doubleheader from his debut album: “Hello in There,” about the realities of time and aging, and the wistful “Paradise,” on which he was joined by the night’s openers, Rosanne Cash and guitarist John Leventhal. He may not have played all night, as some had hoped, but Prine treated the audience to a showcase of his extensive catalog and skillful songwriting. —Alena Kastin