For her orchestral debut, Rosanne Cash wore black jeans, a sequined green top and a black jacket with (short) tails.
The informality mixed with the formality worked for Cash and the Minnesota Orchestra Friday at Orchestra Hall. The symphonic sounds added emotions to a few numbers and buoyed Cash on a couple others. She also offered several tunes, accompanied by her three-man band (the amplification did not consistently fare well in Orchestra Hall) or merely her husband/guitarist/producer, John Leventhal (highlight: "Ode to Billie Joe").
The orchestration didn’t effectively augment the opening "I Still Miss Someone" and "Sea of Heartbreak" (both from "The List," an album of essential American songs from a list that Cash’s father, Johnny Cash, gave her when she was 18).
But the strings underscored the sadness of Patsy Cline’s "She's Got You" and added a fitting Irish flavor to Cash’s own "The Good Intent," a dreaminess to "The World Unseen" and a loneliness of "Sleeping in Paris." The best arrangements had to be the swelling "Seven-Year Ache," Cash’s biggest hit, and the closing "The Wheel," her most uptempo and dynamic tune.
After "The Wheel," Cash seemed so uplifted that she looked as if she could have played for another 90 minutes.
Afterwards, she bowed to the orchestra first and then to the crowd, which gave her a standing ovation.
Throughout the concert, Cash gushed about the occasion. "What an unmitigated pleasure," she oozed at one time. "I’m so thrilled and honored to be here," she declared near the end. "This is one of the best nights of my life." Seven minutes after exiting with conductor Sarah Hicks, Cash shared her excitement via Twitter: "Indescribably wonderful."
Buckaroo Holiday (Aaron Copland, played by Minnesota Orchestra)/ Cash appears: I Still Miss Someone (with orchestra)/ Long Black Veil/ Motherless Children/ She's Got You (orchestra)/ Sea of Heartbreak (orchestra)/ Radio Operator/ Tennessee Flat Top Box/ The Good Intent (orchestra)
House on a Lake (orchestra)/ Dreams Are Not My Home/ The World Unseen (orchestra)/ Ode to Billie Joe/ Runaway Train/ Sleeping in Paris (orchestra)/ September When It Comes/ Seven-Year Ache (orchestra)/ The Wheel (orchestra)