THROUGH THE LENS: Rosanne Cash and Ry Cooder – The Songs of Johnny Cash
Rosanne Cash & Ry Cooder, Cash & Cooder on Cash - The Ryman - Photo by Amos Perrine
It was billed as “Cash & Cooder on Cash: The Songs of Johnny Cash.” A short five-city tour, two now, the other three in this fall. I caught the first one at Ryman Auditorium, and fellow ND writer Henry Carrigan went two nights later in Chicago. (See the rest of the dates at the end of this column.) Henry graciously provided a few thoughts on the latter show for this week’s column. Also included is one of his photos.
But first, my thoughts from Nashville.
Cash & Cooder on Cash at the Ryman
The same type of majesty that surrounded The Man in Black when he would play in a single spotlight and state “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash,” was present on Father’s Day at the Mother Church. As with Johnny’s touring show, it was a family affair that also featured Rosanne Cash’s husband, John Leventhal, and Cooder’s son, Joachim.
Ring of Fire
Rarely have I heard something so simultaneously draining and fulfilling. On this song Leventhal played Luther, biting into Cooder’s long drawn-out lines, sometimes underscoring him, sometimes acting as a counterpoint. There is at least one YouTube video of the song from the Chicago show, and while it did not give me the chills and thrills I experienced at the Ryman, you should still check it out.
And now let’s hear from Henry about the June 21 show in Chicago …
When introducing “Big River,” Cash recalled, “Dad was a great Southern poet; his scenes were so cinematic. ‘Big River’ unfolds like a John Ford movie.” In her take on the song she rolled out each scene with her own flawless ability to find the essence of the song and to capture its sprawling beauty.
One of the highlights of the Chicago show included watching two master guitarists — John Leventhal and Cooder — play around each other, never wasting notes and always knowing when to play just the right riffs or chords to support the song, and each other. Another highlight was the first song of the encore, a soaring space jazz version of “Ring of Fire.”
The remaining dates for Cash & Cooder on Cash are:
Oct. 30 – Boston at Wang Theatre
Nov. 2 – New York at Carnegie Hall
Nov. 3 – Philadelphia at the Metropolitan Opera House