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Rosanne Cash performs for a nearly-full house in Blackburn Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, January 31, 2015. Before each song, she shared personal stories of her life in the South and was very personal with the audience. 

Crowd begs for more after Sunday’s performance by Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash gives MemAud audience an emotion-filled performance of soulful sounds.

If audience member Don Kincaid, resident of Athens, could ask country singer Rosanne Cash a question, he said it would be, “Will you marry me?”

Rosanne Cash, daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, performed for a packed house with an older crowd at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Sunday. All eyes were on Cash as she elegantly stepped on stage in her royal purple, bedazzled cardigan.

Deb Roelle made the drive from Columbus and booked a hotel just to see Cash perform. The concert was especially meaningful to her because of the way an album by Cash helped her cope with the loss of her own father.

“I made a trip to Nashville by myself, similar to tonight, and found that cemetery (of Rosanne’s father, Johnny Cash),” Roelle said. “I was the only one there. … I just wept. There is just so much love there.”

Cash introduced her guitarist and bass player accompanying her and dove straight into her first song, “Modern Blue.” Her deep, southern voice filled the auditorium with a somber, emotionally-charged mood.

Before Cash started each song, her bass player strummed a low tune while she slowly and smoothly told a small anecdote about the song she was about to sing. One moving narrative was about her grandmother’s life, Carrie. Cash told how her grandfather was “not a kind man” and continued the story in her third song of the night, “The Sunken Lands” with help from guitarist Kevin Barry.

Cash’s down-to-earth humor came out after the first few songs. She would unexpectedly crack a joke, usually at herself, and received an immediate hearty laugh from the audience.

“I hope it’s not too obnoxious to tell you we’ve won three Grammy’s for this album,” Cash said. “Last time we won one was when Reagan was president, so it might not happen again for a while.”

Right after getting a laugh from the audience, Cash would jump right back into a personal and meaningful song about her birthplace in the South.

Cash then announced she would be singing a song from her previous album, The List, an album with songs in remembrance of her father. A dramatic guitar solo from Barry left Cash swaying her hips and snapping her fingers on stage.

“You sing a song for 35 years and you have developed a relationship with it,” Cash said after the song.

The audience was especially intrigued when Cash told of the days when June Carter, second wife to Johnny Cash, taught her how to play guitar while in the dressing rooms on her dad’s tour.

As the show continued, Cash began to play a couple memorable songs the audience would sing along to. Her rendition of the Bobby Bare original song, “500 Miles,” was a hit with the crowd.

However, the Ray Price and Vince Gill song, “Heartaches By The Number,” was not as big of a hit for an encore.

The clapping and singing from the crowd was almost as loud as the band itself.

Cash stood with her bandmates after the show and blew the audience a big kiss with both arms extended before making her final exit.

Kincaid had to step out of the concert for a moment and was told to wait until the song ended to re-enter the auditorium.

“I said, ‘good idea’, and I’m standing there behind those thick doors but her voice carried through those doors. … She’s just incredible,” Kincaid said. “It was better than I thought it was going to be and I thought it was going to be great.”

After her performance, Cash commented on her short experience of Athens.

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“I walked down to the cemetery on that nature walk,” Cash said. “It was really beautiful and lovely. I mean, seeing that cemetery was very moving.”

Cash ended the conversation by reflecting on her father’s presence that she still experiences and how he has influenced her greatest passion.

“He was a performer, and I was around him a lot when he was performing. I learned how he related to an audience. Maybe I still have a little of that … but once in a while something just passes over me,” Cash said. “(This feeling that) that I’m carrying on in the family business. … It’s funny in that way, like if a doctor took over his father’s practice. I do feel a connection, of course.”



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