Rosanne Cash reflects on museum exhibit, southwest Virginia ties

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 7:34 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BRISTOL, Va. (WDBJ) - It wasn’t a homecoming for Rosanne Cash. She was born in Memphis and grew up in California.

But during her performance Sunday evening at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, she spoke of her strong connection to southwest Virginia and visits with the family of her stepmother, June Carter Cash.

“I owe the Carter Family a tremendous debt,” Cash told the audience, “because all of those Carter women, the first things I learned on guitar were those Carter Family songs.”

Earlier, photographs of her father, Johnny Cash, brought her to a gallery at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on the day before the 19th anniversary of his death.

A new exhibit documents a key moment in his life and career, the January 1968 concerts at Folsom Prison, that produced a hit album and helped to revive his career.

Rosanne Cash was 13 when the album was released.

“I didn’t realize the cultural impact of it, obviously, until it came out,” Cash told reporters at the museum. “And then it became so identifiable with my dad, and just his image, who he was in the world, how people perceived him, it seemed like something that had always been a part of him.”

Her favorite photos in the exhibit are not the iconic images from the concert, but ones that show another side of her father.

“A lot of the other photographs, I really appreciate the beauty of them, and the import of them, but they are, a lot are “Johnny Cash,” and those two in particular are “Dad,” she said pointing to candid photographs of her father.

During the festival thousands of people walked the line on State Street, not far from where recording sessions produced the Big Bang of Country Music in 1927.

Cash said part of her bloodstream is Virginia and part is Tennessee.

The family connections, and the cultural significance, she said, made for a deeply moving experience.