"Rosanne Cash is a gifted writer who has led an extraordinary life—but what stays with you from this beautiful book is how she makes the particular universal. She makes us feel the contradictory emotions of being someone's child, someone's lover, and someone's parent. She reminds us of the ecstasy of falling in love and the heartbreak of bad endings. She shares the hardest lessons—facing mortality in our loved ones and in ourselves—as eloquently as she makes us appreciate the thousand small joys in this passing world. Composed is more than the story of her life. It's the story of all our lives."
—Bill Flanagan, Author of Evening's Empire
"This is an extraordinarily and dauntingly honest book."
"Beautifully written meditations on love, death, family and redemption from the celebrated songwriter... Intimate vignettes writ small fill this account, which illuminates her close, complicated relationships with both her mother and her father... Unflinchingly honest and incisive... Warmth and humor characterize the resilience of the author's spirit. An excellent memoir that ends on an encouraging note: "More to come.'"
For over three decades Rosanne Cash has been one of the most compelling figures in popular music, having moved gracefully from Nashville stardom to acclaim as a singer-songwriter and author of essays and short stories. Her remarkable body of work has often been noted for its emotional acuity, its rich and resonant imagery, and its unsparing honesty. Those qualities enable her to establish a unique intimacy with her audiences, and it is those qualities that inform her long-awaited memoir.
Composed is the story of an artist finding her voice—both figuratively and literally—in the context of her family legacy, of the commercial imperatives of the music business, and of a desire to preserve some measure of privacy in a life that has been too often subjected to public scrutiny. Beginning with a childhood spent on an almost surreal, snake-infested Southern California hilltop, Cash traces her fraught relationship with her father, country legend Johnny Cash, whose frequent absences and struggles with drugs left her mother, Vivian, disappointed and bitter. She shares her memories of a comical stint at a job in London, a hapless twenty-year-old desperate to find her own style, and of cutting her own first record on a German label. She recalls gradually working her way to chart-topping success, her marriage to Rodney Crowell—a union that made them country music's premier couple—and the composition and recording of the landmark album Interiors. After leaving Nashville and Crowell for New York, she confronts the loss of her parents, charting the course of her mourning through music, and finds fulfillment in motherhood and in her husband and musical collaborator, John Leventhal.
As moving, disarming, and elusive as one of her classic songs, Composed is Rosanne Cash's luminous testament to the power of art, tradition, and love to transform a life.