On Life and Love after 50 e-Newsletter – February 8, 2019
by Columnist Tom Blake
There are two parts to today’s e-Newsletter
Part 1 – An Evening With Rosanne Cash
Seniors often ask for suggestions on where to go when they’d like a little variety in their routines. For our southern California Champs, I can now recommend the magnificent Chapman University MUSCO Center for the Arts, in Orange, California. Most Champs in other parts of the country have similar venues they can visit.
Greta and I had a senior date night there last Saturday (February 2). It was to see Rosanne Cash in concert. Why Rosanne?
When I first met Rosanne Cash, the oldest daughter of Johnny Cash, she was 21. I was the Director of Marketing for Victoria Station restaurant chain, that specialized in prime rib; most of our restaurants were constructed of boxcars and cabooses.
Victoria Station had hired Johnny to sing train-themed radio commercials and it was my job to work with him to ensure the company’s association with him went well.
In January, 1976, I attended a TV taping of a country music show at the NBC studios in Burbank, California, that featured Rosanne’s dad Johnny, John Denver, Glen Campbell, Roger Miller and Mary Kay Place.
At that five-hour taping, Rosanne and I sat together in the front row; we became friends and have remained in contact—albeit sporadically–since then.
I’ve watched in admiration as she has matured into an incredible, prolific, composer and musician. I’ve observed her emerge from under her famous father’s coattails, and, become established on her own merit.
Her music isn’t solely country, it’s called Americana, which includes pop, rock, blues and folk. Rosanne’s career took off with a 1981 title track song and album called “Seven Year Ache.” She has released 15 albums.
In 2015, she won three Grammy awards for best Americana album, “The River & the Thread.”
Rosanne has had 11 songs that reached number one on the country music charts. She has published four books, her most noteworthy, a 2010 memoir, titled, “Composed.”
Last Saturday, February 2, Greta and I attended an evening concert at the magnificent Chapman University, MUSCO Center for the Arts, where Rosanne and her husband, John Leventhal, performed as a duet. She said the MUSCO has the finest acoustics of any venue in which she’s performed in California.
A guy in the audience yelled out, “That’s what Vince Gill said.” She smiled and said, tongue-in-cheek, “Vince is always copying me.” That brought a big laugh from the audience.
Rosanne sang a breathtaking version of the 1967 Bobbie Gentry song, “Ode to Billie Joe, from Rosanne’s “The River & the Thread,” album, and a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “The Long Black Veil,” from The List album, which was based on a hand-written list of 100 greatest American songs her dad gave her when she was 18. She mentioned she still has that list.
She featured songs from her just-released album, “She Remembers Everything,” saying with emotion in her voice, “This is a deeply personal collection of songs for me.”
At the end of the two-hour concert, after playing Seven Year Ache (see link below), Cash and Leventhal received a two-minute standing ovation.
After the second encore song, “Tennessee Flattop Box,” Greta and I went backstage and were able to spend a few minutes talking with her.
When she noticed us, I held up a copy of my 2006 memoir, Boxcars and Prime Rib. Whatever Happened to Victoria Station? and said, “Remember this?”
Front Cover: Prime Rib & Boxcars. Whatever Happened to Victoria Station?
“How could I forget?” Rosanne said, “That’s you and Dad on the cover. Didn’t I endorse the back cover?”
I showed her the back cover with her quote.
Back cover of Tom’s book with endorsement by Rosanne Cash (and Bill Walsh and Lynn Swann)
In a bit of an unusual twist, I had her sign the inside front cover of my book, which she did, writing, “To Tom and Greta, with love, Rosanne Cash.”
She said, “I remember you posted the book and my dad’s radio commercials on your Victoria Station ( http://www.VicSta.com ) website.”
I said, “Yup. When you click on the link, after about 5 seconds, you hear Johnny singing our commercials. He sounds as good as ever.” Note from Tom: If you want to hear Johnny singing the commercials, avoid using the Google Chrome browser (a recent update by them muted the sound). Any other browser works well such as Microsoft Edge.)
I told Rosanne how proud I am of her, and how amazingly talented she’s become. She seemed to appreciate those words, from a friend of her dad’s, whom she’s known for 43 years.
Greta, Rosanne Cash, and Tom on February 2, 2019
It was a special “date-night-out” evening for Greta and me.
Link to Rosanne Cash singing Seven Year Ache:
This article appeared in the San Clemente Times Newspaper on February 14, 2019 and the Dana Point Times on February 22, 2019
Part 2 – New Facebook Page: “Tom Blake Publishing.”
Some Champs have said they’d like to read the e-Newsletter on Facebook so they can comment and interact with other Champs. So, I’ve created a new page just for that purpose. Hopefully, today’s e-Newsletter will be the first one posted. The Facebook page is titled “Tom Blake Publishing.” When you get a chance, check it out. This is not a closed page, anyone can post comments (at least for now) but not post photos. We will see how it goes.