Rosanne Cash On Loss and Grief



Over a two-year period, Rosanne Cash lost her mother, her father, and her stepmother. In 2006, she gave an interview with NPR about her album Black Cadillac and spoke about loss, grief, death, and music.

On the album Black Cadillac: My hope is that they [listeners] bring their own lives to it; that they're not just hung up on the back story of the deaths of these people, because it's not a tribute record. But it is about the terrain of lost grief. And loss is not just one thing. I mean, it's also anger, and it's also liberation and the renegotiation of these relationships. You know, because I don't think that a relationship between parent and child ends when one person leaves the body. It goes on but you've got to find the new terms.


On the song "The World Unseen": I started writing that one around the same time as "God is in the Roses" [the first song she wrote after the death of her father, Johnny Cash]. And it was an epiphany, really. I realized that this outcome isn't just particular to them; that we're all headed in that direction. It's a very prosaic realization that felt like an epiphany. So I started writing the song. And then also to find the person you love in artifacts that they leave behind: in their geography, in their particular belongings, possessions. The bits of them that they leave behind, you know? There is something very comforting about that.


On the death of her father, Johnny Cash: We met over music and playing songs for each other. So the idea that he didn't hear this [album], or hasn't heard it, has been very painful for me.


And in fact, when I wrote the song, "The Good Intent", which is a song about our ancestry, 300 years of the Cash ancestry, I was in a taxi coming down Fifth Avenue and it hit me. And I -- no, first I thought to myself I've got to call dad and play this song for him over the phone. And hit me I was not going to call dad and play this song. And I think that's when it sunk in that he was gone. That was the moment. That was a life changing moment.