Rosanne Cash found inspiration for her latest album, "The River & The Thread," during a visit to the childhood home of her father Johnny Cash. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter joined HuffPost Live to discuss how her trip to Dyess, Ark. shaped her music, and how returning to her roots was important both for herself and for her children.
"I was born in Memphis. I didn't live there long, but it has kind of a mythic presence to me. And as Hemingway said, it's a moveable fest, you know. I take part of Memphis with me. And I need to know that so that my kids know that. 'Hey, my mom was born in Memphis and this is now part of me.' It's generational."
Cash talked about her start in the music industry and how she fought to establish herself outside of her father's country music legacy. "I was going into a field where I had a very successful parent. I wanted to be a songwriter--he was a great songwriter. I became a performer--he was a great performer," she explained to host Ricky Camilleri.
"But that's not unique to me," she said. "I think any young person in their 20s who goes into the same field as their parent, whether it's neurosurgery or medicine or law or you know, they have a nice shop. You have to separate yourself and find out what do you do well. 'Who am I? What's my particular take on this? What prism am I seeing it through?' And you know, you show up for work for 30 years, hopefully you get good at something you do."
When asked about growing up with Johnny Cash as a father, she was frank about her complex family life. "My father was a drug addict when I was a kid, that--people who have addicts in their family who they love, they know--there's a lot of chaos and darkness and confusion, and it's particularly for a child, so there was that," she said to host Ricky Camilleri.
"And he was very famous, so there was that added on to it. At the same time, he had a huge heart and he loved his children, and made efforts to connect and so it was complicated. It wasn't the movie, if that's what you mean," she added, referencing the 2005 movie "Walk The Line," which was based on Johnny Cash's life.
Cash said that her childhood influenced her own parental awareness, especially as a touring musician. "There were many cautionary tales about being on the road, and going to excess in things. I think that's one of the traits that children of addicts get, is a kind of hyper-vigilance about what's safe, when it's safe, what's going on with the adults. And I've retained those."