Holy Smokes. Rosanne Cash and her husband/guitarist John Leventhal wore me out with her cover of Ode to Billie Joe at Hill Auditorium last night.
There’s a brilliant end to this that you can’t hear because the crowd goes nuts; Leventhal untunes the guitar and keeps playing. YouTube has another version where you can hear it, but I like this one because you can watch them both. They’re spectacular performers.
Ode came as a surprise in her concert “The List,” based on a list of 100 songs her dad gave her (the linked album is pretty much the program). She sang about a dozen songs from it, running from an old English ballad she’d learned from the Carter Family up through “500 Miles”, talked about learning to play guitar from Carl Perkins (!), and then introduced it with, “What if there was a 101st song?” Afterward, she said, “You know it’s a great song when, 40 years later, you’re still trying to figure out what they threw off the bridge.”
I bought her book and was going to ask her to sign it after; years ago, our kids went to the same school, and while I only dealt with Rosanne briefly to get a donation for the silent auction (the things we do for our children), the spouse got to share a table with her where the two signed their own books; his was Mr. Mike, hers was probably her short story collection, Bodies of Water. He said it was a great evening, despite the fact that they spent it next to Anna Quindlen (one wag at the school dubbed her “The King of Women”) and her groaning table of Oprah-approved opuses. Last night, the line was over a hundred people long, and moved slow. Battling a cold for a few days, I whimped out; if it’s meant to be, I’ll run into her again.
Anyway, it’s a wonderful concert. Check it out if it comes near you.