Rosanne Cash returns to the valley

By Ryan Cornell

It’s been 11 years since Rosanne Cash last performed at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, and she’s returning to Orkney Springs tonight with three more albums and a collection of memoirs and essays.

This year alone has been a whirlwind for the 59-year-old singer-songwriter, as she saw one of her daughters get married and, last month, testified before Congress on music licensing and illegal downloading.

“This has been a great year for me,” Cash wrote in an email interview. “I feel I wrote my best songs, made my best record and it has been received in a way that has been deeply satisfying. The shows have been special for me — in some cases we have performed the entire album in sequence, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Released in January, her latest album, “The River and the Thread,” is her first album of original material since 2006’s “Black Cadillac.”

The 14-track album was written with her longtime collaborator, producer, guitarist and husband John Leventhal, and reflects her journeys through the South, including stops in Memphis, the Mississippi Delta and her father’s boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.

Perhaps more commonly known for her relation with singer Johnny Cash — she’s the daughter of his first marriage to Vivian Liberto — Rosanne Cash recently discovered more about another one of her roots, William Cash, a Union soldier who fought in the Civil War.

“There were Southern Cashes from Virginia, Arkansas and Georgia and Northern Cashes from Massachusetts and New York,” she wrote. “The ones most closely associated with my direct line would have been from Virginia and Massachusetts.”

Rosanne Cash, who described the Shenandoah Valley as a “spectacularly beautiful part of the country,” lives in New York City when she’s not touring. She said she misses the gentility, relative slow pace and food of the South.

She said she’s currently working on a book of essays about New York, writing prose pieces for the Oxford American and National Geographic and singing as a guest on some records.

Rosanne Cash will perform with Leventhal at the Shrine Mont Conference Center in Orkney Springs at 8 p.m. today.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com