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Rosanne Cash
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Music from "Black Cadillac":"God Is in the Roses""The World Unseen"
Rosanne Cash has been a singer-songwriter for 25 years, but her latest album, "Black Cadillac," might be her most intense and personal to date. The record mines the grief that Cash experienced after she lost three parents in two years--her mother, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin, and her father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash. "Each song is about a different place on the map of loss," she told Beliefnet during an interview in which she talked about her songwriting, her spiritual path, and how love survives death.

Do you see this album as a love letter or a farewell to your parents? 

No--it's not a tribute record, it's not a farewell, it's not a goodbye note. It's about what I discovered in the mourning process about my relationship to them, which I believe continues, about re-negotiating the terms of those relationships, because they're not over, although I'm the only one talking. And about the emptiness, the silence that comes when you're the only one talking. It's about an attempt to connect and find what survives death—the ancestral thread, and love.

You've said that for an adult child to lose her elderly parents is not a tragedy.

I just know that there is a line. Death is not reserved for the privileged few. We're all headed in that direction, so that if you experience a loss that's in the natural order of events, if you lose an elderly parent to illness, there's a blessing in that.  It could be the reverse, which is a tragedy, for a parent to lose a child.  It could be to accident, to violence, which is a tragedy. But to lose an elderly parent to illness, you can't call it a tragedy.

 

Is sorrow easier, then, than tragedy?

I don't know, because I can only talk about my own experience. I don't have a textbook of perfect loss in my head, and perfect grief, and what that should look like. I know that mine has been profound and life-changing. At the same time, I'm not a mother in Iraq who lost her 10-year-old child to a stray bomb. That's very different, and I am humbled by the difference.

 

You speak about these songs as if there was an inevitability to them; they sort of found you. Was there any time when you tried to hide from them?

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