Rosanne Cash makes her symphonic debut

  • Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 16, 2011 - 3:18 PM

She'll perform with the Minnesota Orchestra Friday.

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Rosanne Cash

Photo: Deborah Feingold,

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The Dakota. The Guthrie. The State Fair. The Fitzgerald.

Rosanne Cash wasn't looking for a different venue for her fifth Twin Cities appearance in the past two years. But the Minnesota Orchestra came calling with an idea: Sing with the symphony.

"I don't get nervous about shows, but I am nervous about this," said Cash, who will make her orchestral debut Friday at Orchestra Hall. "If it's just you and the band, if you miss an intro, the band will vamp and wait for you. If you forget a word, I make stuff up. I can't miss an intro. I want to be good for them. I'm really proud that I'm doing this. I want them to be glad that they're doing it with me."

Cash enlisted Austin, Texas, composer Stephen Barber to orchestrate nine of her songs, including her classic "Seven-Year Ache," a few selections from 2006's "Black Cadillac" and some tunes from "The List," a batch of essential American songs that her father, Johnny Cash, gave her when she was 18.

"I've heard a couple and they sound amazing," said Cash, who also will perform several selections with her regular band.

The Minnesota Orchestra's director of pops, Lilly Schwartz, pitched Cash's agent to see if she'd join the parade of singer-songwriters (Elvis Costello, Ben Folds, Josh Ritter) who have performed with the orchestra.

For Cash, "it's a grand experiment," she said, and she "wouldn't object" to booking more symphony gigs.

As it is, Cash is juggling various endeavors -- performing with her band and as a duo with her husband/producer/guitarist John Leventhal, marketing a new 36-song retrospective album ("The Essential Rosanne Cash"), speaking at conferences and promoting the paperback of "Composed," her 2010 memoir.

"It's all part of the same thing," she said last week from her New York apartment. "If I only did one of those things, I'd miss the other. I enjoy the book stuff because there's a dialogue. I go to colleges and libraries and book conventions and read and speak. You talk to the audience. I like knowing what they want to know. "

Cash does interact with her fans on Twitter (@rosannecash). "I tweet all the time," she said. "Today, someone posted an interactive periodic table. I'm such a geek; I love stuff like that. And this new band's record came out. I enjoy so much of what I learn on Twitter."

Via Twitter, she has connected with several artists whom she admires -- including Waterboys singer Mike Scott and actress Jennifer Ehle, who played in the 1995 British TV series "Pride and Prejudice."

"I've been completely obsessed with that series for decades," Cash admitted. "We found each other on Twitter and now we've met and we're friends. It's just crazy."

Cash has many projects on her to-do list, including writing material for a new album ("It's a Southern theme -- Southern places, people, influences"), which will be recorded before her second volume of "The List."

At 56, "I have a sense of urgency about completing things," she said. "As my friend Ethan Russell says, 'You have more to say and less time to say it.'"

  • ROSANNE CASH

    With: Her band and the Minnesota Orchestra.

    When: 8 p.m. Fri 11/18

    Where: Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls.

    Tickets: $30-$60; 612-371-5656.

    Web: rosannecash.com

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