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Composed: A Memoir

A book by Rosanne Cash

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Life as Journey

  • Aug 10, 2010
Acclaimed songwriter and recording star Rosanne Cash, is a reluctant celebrity at best. She never wanted a public life, always preferring to maintain her privacy rather than to share the details of her life via the numerous lowbrow celebrity-worship outlets so common today. Over the years, her fans have come to understand that choice, and to respect it. Those same fans now will be pleasantly surprised at the depth to which Cash willingly shares the details of her life in "Composed: A Memoir."

Rosanne Cash's father, of course, is none other than Johnny Cash, a man for whom the word "legend" is insufficient to describe his place in music history. Cash grew up in her father's shadow, sensing early on that her achievements would be forever judged in comparison to his - a pressure-filled, no-win situation she wanted to avoid. She witnessed the performer lifestyle first hand and knew it to be harder work, and much less glamorous, than outsiders could ever imagine. She was certain she wanted no part of it. And, because she had always been good with words, even to believing that some day she would make her living as an author, Cash decided that songwriting offered her the best chance to work in the "family business" and still maintain the privacy she desired.

Rosanne Cash's life has always been about music and journeys. As she puts it, "I have learned more from songs than I ever did from any teacher in school. They are interwoven and have flowed through the most important relationships in my life - with my parents, my husband, and my children...For me music has always involved journeys, both literal and metaphoric." In "Composed: A Memoir," she shares some of those journeys with her readers.

Cash, the oldest of her father's children, starts at the beginning, recalling what it was like to grow up in Southern California at a time her father's road habits were destroying his marriage and her mother's health. She discusses her attempts to distance herself from her father's style of music, including the London sojourn during which she served as a gofer at a London record label for several months (a job arranged by her father). She beautifully recounts her journey toward becoming a recording star and successful songwriter, and how proud her father was of her success. Along the way, she revisits her marriage to Rodney Crowell, a marriage that filled her home with daughters, and describes her relationship with John Leventhal, the man to whom she has been married for the past fifteen years, the father of her only son.

Beyond a doubt, first and foremost, Rosanne Cash is a writer. Her prose is at its best when she describes the devastating series of deaths she and her family endured beginning in early 2003 and the unusual brain surgery she herself suffered in late 2007. On May 15, 2003, June Carter Cash died and John followed her on September 12. Just six weeks later, her stepsister Rosie would die of carbon monoxide poisoning, and in May 2005 she would lose her mother, Vivian, to lung cancer. Cash spoke at the funerals of her parents and June Carter Cash; "Composed" includes each of their eulogies.

Indeed, Rosanne Cash is good at words. I suspect her father would be very proud of his daughter's story.

Rated at: 4.0

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Sam Sattler ()
Ranked #254
Oil company professional of almost 40 years experience who has worked in oil-producing countries around the world. I love books, baseball and bluegrass music and hope to dedicate myself to those hobbies … more
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About this book


Rosanne Cash’s Composed Playlist

Rosanne Cash Rosanne Cash looks back on her life as an artist, a songwriter, and an heir to an incredible industry legend in Composed. Here, she’s provided readers with a special playlist—along with behind-the-music liner notes--that puts her unique life story to music. You can also sample and download these songs in our custom MP3 playlist.

"Sleeping In Paris" (1993)

I wrote this just before I went to Paris in 1990. It became a metaphor for resolving things that could not be resolved.

"Seven Year Ache" (1981)
Seven Year Ache This song began as a long poem, three or four pages long, and I distilled it down into the song it became. I wrote it when Rickie Lee Jones first album was out, and it was really influential for me. I was thinking that I didn't know any country songs about being on the streets, or street life, and I wanted to write one. This was my attempt.

"On The Inside" (1990)
On The Inside This is the first track on my album "Interiors." The whole album was about the difference between what is going on inside, and what you show the world on the outside.

"Rules of Travel" (2003)
Rules of Travel I wrote the chorus to this YEARS before the whole song was finished. It became the title song of the album. I still think it is one of the best choruses I've written.

"Dreams Are Not My Home" (2006)
Dreams Are Not My Home I was in Cambridge, England, playing at the Folk Festival, and my daughter and I climbed to the top of an ancient church, and I looked out over the River Cam and a picture ...

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ISBN-10: 0670021962
ISBN-13: 978-0670021963
Author: Rosanne Cash
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Entertainment
Publisher: Viking Adult
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"Life as Journey"
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