estreetpoet, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by estreetpoet)
This is not your typical gossipy, tell-all celebrity memoir. Yes, of course you will find stories about famous people here - including of course Rosanne Cash's father - but they are stories about human beings, not celebrities and they are written with tremendous compassion. More than anything, this is a book about how Rosanne Cash became a writer and a musician, and it is beautifully written. Don't read it because of who the author is related to. Read it because of who she is and how she can tell a story.
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Suze R, August 15, 2010 (view all comments by Suze R)
I read this book while listening to some of Rosanne's recent music.Her writing is poetry,as is her songwriting.I lost my father during September also,so her writing about her father's passing and her song When September Comes really touch me.Her story of how her fear of snakes came to be is great for anyone who has had that particular fear growing up.She combines humor about her life while at the same time sharing some of the most painful moments of her life with you.I highly recommend this book whether you have listened to her music or not. After reading this you WILL want to listen to her music.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"This work is a rare treat, as Cash, firstborn to country music legend Johnny Cash, is not only a hereditary celebrity musician, having made scores of albums and #1 singles, but a terrific writer in her own right. Indeed, her memoir is an intensely reflective, carefully hewn chronicle of her coming-into-her-own as a writer. Born in 1955 to Johnny Cash's little-known first wife, Vivian, just at the breakthrough of her father's music career with the hit 'Cry, Cry, Cry,' Cash describes herself as a 'pudgy, withdrawn girl' already aware that she was 'a counterfeit with a strange, hidden life.' That included an anxious mother, three younger sisters, and a father who was frequently absent and erratic, due to his abuse at the time of amphetamines and barbiturates. From growing up in Southern California to visits to her father's house in Hendersonville, Tenn., Cash idolized her father and rarely questioned his authority, such as sending her off to work at CBS Records in London at age 20. At Vanderbilt University, she studied with Walter Sullivan; toyed with Method acting in L.A.; then recorded four demos in Munich, Germany, for Ariola Records, away from the scrutiny of comparison with her father. Cash depicts pensively her early delight in analogue recording and honing her writing craft. Despite an inordinate preponderance of funeral eulogies and some odd structuring toward the end, Cash's memoir sheds clear light on her talent and drive. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review A Day"
by Jeff Baker, The Oregonian,
"Rosanne Cash is a brilliant singer and songwriter who at 55 has come back to the top of her game after brain surgery and a knee-buckling series of family tragedies....She's also a talented writer who's published a book of short stories and taught classes in the creative process, skills that serve her well in Composed, an episodic memoir that breaks her life down into impressionistic stories. The book does follow Cash's life in a fairly straight line and is surely more of a narrative than Bob Dylan's Chronicles; there are many times when she's more interested in sharing a story or catching a mood than getting everything down for the record." (Read the entire Oregonian review)
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
"Beautifully written meditations on love, death, family and redemption from the celebrated songwriter....An excellent memoir that ends on an encouraging note:'More to come.'"
"The most compelling parts of this episodic memoir describe Cash's musical heritage...and her development as a singer and songwriter....[A] moving testament to the resiliency of the human, and creative, spirit."
by Library Journal,
"Fans of Rosanne and Johnny Cash will find this essential, as she offers insight into their lives, the importance of family, and the music industry. Highly recommended."
by Washington Post,
"Wise, honest and utterly engaging...Rosanne Cash isn't just a writer and performer of songs, she's a writer, period...[a] beautiful and stirring book."
by New York Times,
"A pointillistic memoir about growing up with and without her father, and about how she slid out from under his shadow to become a gifted artist in her own right"
In this candid memoir, an acclaimed singer and songwriter writes about her upbringing in Southern California as the child of country legend Johnny Cash, and of her relationships with her mother and her famous stepmother, June Carter Cash.
A witty, revealing, sharply written work of memoir and criticism by the cofounder of Steely Dan
Musician and songwriter Donald Fagen presents a group of vivid set pieces in his entertaining debut as an author, from portraits of the cultural figures and currents that shaped him as a youth to an account of his college days and of life on the road.
Fagen begins by introducing the eminent hipsters” that spoke to him as he was growing up in a bland New Jersey suburb in the early 1960s, among them Jean Shepherd, whose manic nightly broadcasts out of WOR-Radio enthralled a generation of alienated young people”; Henry Mancini, whose swank, noirish soundtracks left their mark on him; and Mort Fega, the laid-back, knowledgeable all-night jazz man at WEVD who was like the cool uncle you always wished you had.” He writes of how, coming of age during the paranoid Cold War era, one of his primary doors of escape became reading science fiction, and of his invigorating trips into New York City to hear jazz. Class of 69” recounts Fagens colorful, mind-expanding years at Bard College, the progressive school north of New York City, where he first met his future musical partner Walter Becker. With the Dukes of September” offers a cranky, hilarious account of the ups and downs of a recent cross-country tour Fagen made with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald, performing a program of old R&B and soul tunes as well as some of their own hits.
Acclaimed for the elaborate arrangements and jazz harmonies of his songs, Fagen proves himself a sophisticated writer with a very distinctive voice in this engaging book.
A candid and moving memoir from the critically acclaimed singer and songwriter
For thirty years as a musician, Rosanne Cash has enjoyed both critical and commercial success, releasing a series of albums that are as notable for their lyrical intelligence as for their musical excellence.
Now, in her memoir, Cash writes compellingly about her upbringing in Southern California as the child of country legend Johnny Cash, and of her relationships with her mother and her famous stepmother, June Carter Cash. In her account of her development as an artist she shares memories of a hilarious stint as a twenty-year-old working for Columbia Records in London, recording her own first album on a German label, working her way to success, her marriage to Rodney Crowell, a union that made them Nashville's premier couple, her relationship with the country music establishment, taking a new direction in her music and leaving Nashville to move to New York. As well as motherhood, dealing with the deaths of her parents, in part through music, the process of songwriting, and the fulfillment she has found with her current husband and musical collaborator, John Leventhal.
Cash has written an unconventional and compelling memoir that, in the tradition of M. F. K. Fisher's The Gastronomical Me and Frank Conroy's Stop-Time, is a series of linked pieces that combine to form a luminous and brilliant whole.
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