Rosanne Cash – The Guthrie Theater – Minneapolis MN – February 17th 2020

The Dakota and Live at The Guthrie present Rosanne Cash

Review and photos by Patrick Dunn

Environment is an important factor in how a live performance is able to be delivered by an artist and experienced by the audience. Understanding this well, our local experts at Dakota and Live at the Guthrie chose the Wurtele Thrust stage as the perfect spot for a very special evening with accomplished singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash and longtime collaborator, guitarist extraordinaire and husband of 25 years, John Leventhal. The room’s design really enabled one to settle in comfortably and fully immerse in what proved to be a very intimate musical conversation containing both substance and depth. I was expecting an older crowd based on Cash’s commercial success throughout the ‘80s, but was pleased to see a range of listeners clearly drawn by her Folk and Americana appeal in addition to the more obvious Country label.

Cash offered up love for the Twin Cities right off the bat saying, “It is so good to be back in one of the great music towns in this country – I was reminded that I played here back at the old Guthrie location in 1988.” The evening’s song selection was more focused on newer material with 6 selections off current release “She Remembers Everything”, but did also include the must have classics. Cash’s voice was true to her recordings with just enough vibrato and pleasing tone, strong across her range making each lyric clear and easy to understand. She also played a good amount of rhythm guitar allowing Leventhal a little freedom to work his magic embellishing melody lines and establishing great feel with his masterful solo work. 

The deep communication between the two was evident as they frequently played closely together during instrumental interludes and also engaged in some good-natured banter between songs.

The music alone landed this performance in a category nothing short of exceptional, but added treasure came from the generous amount of storytelling that was also offered up. Before playing “Western Wall”, Cash spoke of songwriting as still being dearest to her heart and having Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt record this song was one her life’s greatest honors. Leading into “Long Black Veil”, she explained how at 18 years old, her dad shared a list of what he call the 100 essential country songs, the inspiration behind her 2010 album “The List”. Even a funny story about ex-husband Rodney Crowell and current husband Leventhal working on a song for Emmylou, that Cash ultimately got reworked into “When the Master Calls the Roll”. Plus, a Minneapolis specific memory of her dad singing “Purple Rain” at his Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame induction that she referred to as “one of the most psychedelic moments of my life”, which was triggered after Leventhal’s experimental solo during “I’m Moving On”.

Additional performance call-outs:

“A Feather’s Not a Bird” lived up to its Grammy winning status

“Long Black Veil” Leventhal’s instrumental lead-in really set the mood

“Sea of Heartbreak” Leventhal’s harmony rivaled Cash’s duet with Springsteen

“Ode to Billie Joe” most dynamic song with rich Delta flavor

“I’m Moving On” most adventurous guitar solo

“She Remembers Everything” Cash’s best vocal

“Everyone But Me” prettiest piano accompaniment

“Seven Year Ache” biggest overall sound

“Tennessee Flat Top Box” most requested and biggest crowd reaction

Set List:

The Only Thing Worth Fighting For (She Remembers Everything)

The Sunken Lands (The River & the Thread)

Etta’s Tune (The River & the Thread)

The Undiscovered Country (She Remembers Everything)

Crossing to Jerusalem (She Remembers Everything)

A Feather’s Not a Bird (The River & the Thread)

Particle and Wave (She Remembers Everything)

Long Black Veil (The List)

Sea of Heartbreak (The List)

Blue Moon With Heartache (Seven Years Ache)

Ode to Billie Joe (Bobbie Gentry cover)

Western Wall (10 Song Demo)

I’m Moving On (The List)

She Remembers Everything (She Remembers Everything)

Everyone But Me (She Remembers Everything)

When the Master Calls the Roll (The River & the Thread)

Seven Year Ache (Seven Year Ache)


Tennessee Flat Top Box (King’s Record Shop)

500 Miles (The List)