Does this happen to you? You know that you have forgotten something but don’t now what and you let it remain at the back of your mind.
And then suddenly it comes to you-at the stoplight as you wait for the lights to go green, tapping your fingers on the steering wheel impatiently and hear the bells in the bell tower nearby chime “500 miles away from home!”
Eureka! Oh, yeah, of course I forgot to post the review for Rosanne Cash’s performance at the Hill Auditorium! Now, how did that happen? Well, I do have to tell you about the first show for the UMS for this year at the Hill Auditorium.
Rosanne Cash was here at the Hill auditorium in the not-so-recent past (in today’s world, I believe that anything more than a day old gets archived under “the not-so-recent past” category) performing songs from her album,The List. The songs were from a list of 100 that her father Johnny Cash gave her when she was 18 so that she could learn what he considered to be “the essential songs that every country singer must know.”
I loved the way the stage was set. We had the guitarists, the pianist, the fiddler and the drummer all neatly spread out with screens in ths backdrop. Paintings and drawings of exotic birds, flowers and patterns (they seemed amateurish but very colorful) were projected onto the screens and they were interesting. My friend and I tried to make connections between the songs and the paintings. Unless someone would deem to correct me, I guess the projections were just random and nice distractions.
Miss Cash walked in to big applause and started off on a great song, William Heagney’s “miss the mississippi and you”. What struck me first as I listened to her live was that her voice was very different. Neither too melodic nor too shrill, it seemed to have something very unique. I felt that her voice wasn’t suited to all the songs. But her rendition of “she’s got you”, “500 miles” and ” miss the mississippi and you” was really very pleasant.
The song “500 miles” was my favorite. Ms Cash sang it more slowly than the Hedy West’s original and it was even more moving. The pace of West’s version made it rushed and it feels as if the railroader was resigned to his fate and so he shrugs it off in a matter-of-fact manner with this song. Cash, on the other hand, made it more like a lament and hence there was more pathos in it leaving room for even more empathy from the listener. There is a Hindi song with this very same tune (the slow version) that I have loved for years and I was surprised and sad to find that it had been, to put it euphemistically, “inspired by” 500 miles! Well, I will leave that matter at that. <shrug>
Ms.Cash’s songs were from a vide variety of genres that included folk, blues, pop and rock. I loved her band. They were superb and made her shine. Especially when it came to them doing their lil solo improvisations, they were awesome! I loved the lead guitarist, John Leventhal, Ms.Cash’s husband, who would not be out of place in a rock band as he was so full of energy and really good.
That she gave two encores and the audience was still clamoring for more, goes to show her popularity. Would I listen to her? Hmm…yes, to some of her songs. I think her voice is something that grows on you and is more like a cultivated taste. As for her song choice from the list of 100, it is really good. That she chooses to “rerelease” these songs to introduce them to new generations is commendable.
Overall, it was a very pleasant evening. And thanks to the bells chiming “500 miles away from home” at noon in Kerry Town for reminding me about what I had forgotten.
more than 500 miles (8549 to be exact) from home ,
Krithika for [art]seen