I remember when she first came onto the MTV scene in the eighties - the look of a New Wave-er with an awesome pop rock song (Seven Year Ache) but the daughter of country's biggest icon. She was an outlier then, doing her thing. Not fitting in, not seeming to care. My kinda gal.
Then I came across her again in 1996 with one of my favorite albums, 10 Song Demo. I immediately connected with her silk-lined-burlap voice and the lyrics - intelligent, literary but still real, in-your-guts stories and messages. As the title suggests, the whole album was based on a demo tape of ten songs she'd recorded with just voice and acoustic guitar. When she sent it to her producer/husband, Jonathan Leventhal, he loved the honest, sparse beauty and kept the original tracks, just augmenting them here and there with instrument overdubs.
Since then she's kept growing as an artist and performer and author - her autobiography, Composed, is a must-read - and a huge inspiration to me on how to be an amazing songwriter and a performer in the public eye while still keeping your integrity. And sense of humor.
So I really enjoyed this recent interview with her (on Garden & Gun's "Whole Hog" podcast). Cash says "some of my songs are like postcards from the future" - and mentions how Black Cadillac was written the spring before June and Johnny passed when most people assumed it was written afterwards. Which struck me because I've written a few songs like this - little mysteries that become prophetic in retrospect. It's not so much clairvoyance. It's more like a sensitive antenna that's picking up information from the ether before it's fully formed...
Anyway, she's just super cool.
Photo by David Clinch