The late, legendary Man In Black Johnny Cash will be honored with a musical tribute tonight on the Country Music Association awards, broadcast live on CBS.
Cash, nominated for four awards including Album of the Year for American lV: The Man Comes Around and Single of the Year for “Hurt,” will be saluted by Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Travis Tritt, and Hank Williams, Jr., drawing together the disparate elements of rock, pop, folk, Americana, bluegrass, Western, Outlaw, and traditional country under the enormously inclusive umbrella of American music that was his.
In addition Cash’s daughter Rosanne will be talking about her father on television:
- Rosanne Cash, the eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, will share memories of her father on Larry King Live Tuesday, November 11th. Brother John Carter Cash and artists such as Dwight Yoakum and Travis Tritt, among others, will join Rosanne on the show to discuss the influence of the legendary Cash. Larry King Live airs 9:00-10:00pm Eastern time on CNN.
A day prior to Larry King Live, Rosanne will perform at the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Brooks & Dunn, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams Jr., Travis Tritt, George Jones, Rodney Crowell, John Carter Cash and others will also perform at the free concert, which will air on CMT on Saturday, November 15th. Writer/director/actor Tim Robbins, a longtime Johnny Cash fan, will host the event.
Rosanne Cash is a Grammy-winning artist in her own right with 11 number one songs to her credit. Her recent Austin City Limits performance will air on PBS on Saturday, November 8th.
The death of her father on September 12th has made their duet, “September When It Comes,” even more profound. Written by Rosanne with John Leventhal (her husband and producer), the song appears on her March 2003 release Rules of Travel, an album recorded as she witnessed her dad’s declining health and dealt with the inevitability of losing him.
When Leventhal suggested she record “September When It Comes” with her dad, Rosanne was at first reluctant. “I thought it might be too intense because of the subject matter and also my relationship with him is too precious, and I didn’t want anyone to think it was a gimmick,” she told the Los Angeles Times this past spring. But after further consideration, she warmed up to the idea and asked her dad to record the song. “He told me he would have to read the lyrics first,” she says with a laugh.
The next time Rosanne visited her father, they went over to the little studio he had in the woods. With brother John Carter Cash at the controls, Johnny started recording his track. “He was getting into doing it,” she recalls. “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.'” Of course, no further recording was needed. The vocal was just as Leventhal had imagined when he suggested the duet – classic Johnny Cash.
The resulting song is a sparse, stunning reflection on mortality, the core of an album that numerous critics have called one of the year’s best. In a style befitting both father and daughter, “September When It Comes” is as uplifting as it is somber:
“When the shadows lengthen
And burn away the past
They will fly me like an angel to
A place where I can rest
When this begins I’ll let you in
September when it comes”