Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash has released 15 albums since 1978 and has been nominated for as many Grammy awards, four of which she won. Her most recent record is “She Remembers Everything, ” released in November, and it’s what brings Cash and her band to the State Theatre for a show on Tuesday night.
Cash, 63, is the oldest daughter of Johnny Cash and Vivian Distin.
“She Remembers Everything” is a riveting album of 13 well-crafted, moving songs. The title track includes the lines “My enemy, my treasured friend/Outside this waking dream/She remembers everything.” The song was co-penned by Sam Phillips, who also lends backing vocals to the tune, and if her name isn’t familiar to you, start with her 1994 album “Martinis & Bikinis.”
Another pristine track is the album-opening “The Only Thing Worth Fighting For,” which Cash wrote with T Bone Burnett and Lera Lynn. “Waking up is harder than it seems/Wandering through these empty rooms of dusty books and quiet dreams/Pictures on the mantle speak your name/Softly like forgotten tunes, just outside the sound of pain.”
Here’s a live version of “The Only Thing Worth Fighting For”
Cash’s songs criss-cross the genres of country, roots, folk and Americana, and her gorgeous voice has a haunting ache to it. Her discography will keep you busy for a long time, but even if she’s new to you, jump right into “She Remembers Everything” because it’s tremendous and features guest musicians Colin Meloy (The Decemberists), Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson and Phillips.
Along with a multi-decade music career, Cash has authored four books, including the 2010 memoir “Composed,” which landed a spot on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. She has also written essays that have run in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Oxford American and the Nation, among several others.
Most recently, Cash wrote a first-person article that ran in the March 23 issue of Billboard magazine. Hands down, it’s the most concise account I’ve ever read about the #MeToo movement as it pertains to the music industry. In it, she speaks of “menacing sexual overtures” made by a male regional label promotions staffer, being grabbed repeatedly in unwelcome ways by men involved with radio, the male rock star who relentlessly pursued her, and the verbal and physical abuse she endured from other renowned male musicians.
The most sobering part of Cash’s piece was her saying that the music business wasn’t built for women. “We’ve gained purchase through our own probity and by creating a community. It’s time to bring us into the larger community, to make a collective commitment to nourishing creative fire that doesn’t incinerate others.”
Rosanne Cash is as good as it gets when it comes to making music. But she’s also willing to make her voice be heard in other ways and has taken on the role of agent of change. At the end of her State Theatre performance, she’ll surely take a bow. We should return the favor.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9
WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $36.50 to $56.50
TICKETS & INFO: statetheatreportland.com