While David Plowden and Richard Serra talk of a parent as champion, filial relationships can also be complicated. In Spark, Rosanne Cash talks about growing up as Johnny Cash’s daughter, and his unwavering support of her choice to become a musician and writer. But, as with all parents and children, there were moments of discord – Rosanne describes one played out backstage in one of the world’s most famous concert halls.
“He was performing at Carnegie Hall, and I was going through a period in my life where I was angry with him, and all of the childhood resentment had surfaced at that point. I had stuff to talk with him about, and he asked if I would sing with him at Carnegie Hall that night. I was just angry and said, ‘No I’ve got a headache I don’t want to.’ He kind of just nodded and said, ‘Okay.’
“He got up and walked away and there was just something about the look of his back that I had seen onstage a million times, that back framed in spotlight, and it just broke my heart. And I called after him and I said, ‘Dad, I’ll do it.’ So, we sang I’ll Still Miss Him on that night at Carnegie Hall. It was a transcendent moment; it was like everything was washed clean. And it made me realize that the stage is where my dad worked out all of his deep problems and where he got healed. And there was a space to contain me in that that night. It was beautiful, it was a really sweet moment.”
Black Cadillac, the album Rosanne Cash recorded after her father’s death, includes extraordinary, beautiful songs of memory and lament. You can listen to Rosanne perform some of them live on Studio 360 here, or find the album here.
Was there a moment of conflict and forgiveness with your mother or father that stays with you?