ROSANNE SMASH

By Karen Le Van

A unique lady with a message, that's Rosanne Cash. She told us early on that "we'll go through a dark tunnel, but I'll lead you out." And she didn't let anyone down or lose them along the way. Cash brought her original music to a full house on March 6 at Jim Porter's Good Time Emporium, performing it acoustically.

The sound system at Jim Porter's was excellent. The sound filled the entire room and it wasn't really noticeable that there wasn't a full band.

Accompanying Cash were Jim Hanson on bass and a fantastic guitar player named Steuart Smith. He gave the audience quite a show all night with his fast and furious fingering of the frets.

Rosanne introduced us to the songs on her new album, Interiors. She was sole producer and writer or co-writer of all the songs on the album. Most of the songs deal with issues she feels strongly about: the Earth, child abuse, women's rights and relationships.

In the song "On the Surface" Rosanne sings: "We can face tomorrow if we can just get through today, but on the surface everything's okay." I'm sure many people can relate to that feeling.

"On the Inside" contains the phrase "We're getting off this misery-go-round." (I've jumped off a few of those myself.)

She then introduced us to her "bookends of infidelity," the he-cheats-so-she-cheats song, "Bedroom Lies" and "Private Moments." From "Bedroom Lies" she sings "I'd rather die than have to tell those bedroom lies."

Rosanne's rapport with the audience was wonderful. One time an enthusiastic fan on the front row jumped onstage so a picture could be taken with Rosanne. At another moment, just as she was starting a very serious song, Rosanne noticed someone about to take her picture. She stopped and posed to break the tension she was no doubt feeling.

In Rosanne's song "A Lover Is Forever," Steuart Smith used a jazzy guitar-riff that really made the song stand out as she sang "You can marry anytime, but a lover is forever."

Of one of her message songs, "This World," Rosanne said she wrote it "when it took more energy to feel what was not going on in this world than to write about it." "This World" is about child abuse:

Every day I wake up in this world

And it's spinning out of control

Who's at the wheel?

Seems no one knows.

We're all just like a baby

Frightened and so sad

Feeling beat up by someone who looks like Dad.

To lighten up after such a stark-reality song, she sang a number that she gave to her husband Rodney Crowell for Valentine's Day. Co-written by Steuart Smith, "Road Widow" brought a great response from the ladies in the audience.

Rosanne introduced several new songs she said she was a little scared to do since they were so new. "Lonely Life" was one the audience liked quite well.

In "The Real Me" Rosanne tells us, "I don't want to hide my light so you can keep shining, I want to be the real woman changing every day."

Another new song, "Sleeping in Paris," contains these lines:

No one sees behind the mask

No one knows I'm sinking fast

Love is just a show

Tied to the ebb and flow

Soon we'll be sleeping in Paris

And we can set those angels free.

Steuart Smith was wonderful on guitar on this song, also. Rosanne tried to end her show with the song, but the appreciative and most attentive audience just wouldn't let her go. After a standing ovation, she came back for not one, but two, encores. The first was "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me," which was co-written with husband Rodney Crowell and "Tennessee Flat Top Box" from her King's Record Shop album.

The second encore brought us "Keep on Crying" and "Hurry, See About Me." As to why she performed acoustically: "'cause we're out of our minds." Well if she felt crazy for doing it, she sure left a room full of old and new Rosanne Cash fans crazy about her and her haunting songs. More performers should try it. But only the truly talented would dare.