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Composed: A Memoir

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  1,322 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
A candid and moving memoir from the critically acclaimed singer and songwriter
For thirty years as a musician, Rosanne Cash has enjoyed both critical and commercial success, releasing a series of albums that are as notable for their lyrical intelligence as for their musical excellence.

Now, in her memoir, Cash writes compellingly about her upbringing in Southern Californ
...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Viking (first published April 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Melki
Apr 04, 2014 Melki rated it it was amazing
It's a hard road but it fits your shoes.
--50,000 Watts

Fans of Rosanne Cash know she's been writing her memoir for decades... through her songs.
The pain, the joy, the love and the heartbreak - stories of a life. laid out for your musical enjoyment.

But, this is the "official" version, the one for you to read instead of listen to... Cash writes quite candidly about her relationship with her famous father, the importance of family, and her struggles with balancing her career and motherhood, Many
...more
Carol
Sep 10, 2010 Carol rated it it was amazing
I have yet to call myself a fan of Rosanne Cash's music. She is a great songwriter, but not a lyricist of the quality of, say, Suzanne Vega, who I think possesses some of my devotion that I could have diverted to Cash. Now, Cash has finally won me over, because while her lyrics might not have Vega's poetic flexibility, her prose writing is solid and evocative. For example, her explanation of the analog recording process is fascinating and enlightening without seeming technical, although she did ...more
Pris robichaud
Dec 10, 2010 Pris robichaud rated it it was amazing
"I'll send the angels to watch over you tonight/And you send them right back to
me./A lonely road is a bodyguard/If you really want it to be."
song: 'Sleeping In Paris' from the album 'The Wheel'.

Rosanne Cash, it seems has been writing forever. The above song was written after the demise of her first marriage. She remembers as a school child writing a sentence and feeling the extraordinary power of words. What she has given us in her memoir is a lifetime of writing that is, indeed, so beautiful
...more
Gary Anderson
Oct 03, 2010 Gary Anderson rated it it was amazing
One of the most moving concert experiences I've ever witnessed was from Rosanne Cash. This was toward the end of her Black Cadillac tour. She'd done a great set, including some of her hits and some of the songs that later became The List. The audience was clearly with her. She came out for the encore seeming like she'd enjoyed herself. As she prepared to go into her last song, someone yelled out "I Still Miss Someone, Rosanne." She said, "Yeah?", turned to her husband John on piano and asked, "C ...more
Yaaresse
Apr 02, 2016 Yaaresse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Had it not been for Cash appearing on the On Being podcast and showing herself not only to be intelligent, articulate and thoughtful, but also a bit of a geek, I would probably never have checked out this book. Bios and memoirs of musicians or actors (or, really, anyone still alive) just isn't my thing. I like her music well enough, but the interview with On Being downplayed the "famous family" angle and played up the angle of someone who is curious about everything from Jung to quantum physics ...more
Josh
Jan 10, 2011 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, music
Lovely little memoir from one of my most beloved country musicians-- though I hasten to add that you don't particularly have to enjoy, or even know, Cash's music to be charmed by this book. Actually, those looking for behind-the-scenes discussions of the recordings themselves are those most likely to be disappointed; Cash talks just a bit about the conditions surrounding some of here albums, perhaps more than a bit about the three biggies (King's Record Shop, Interiors, Black Cadillac), but ther ...more
Kim
Feb 06, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
I had never heard of Rosanne Cash, and certainly had no idea she was remotely famous as a musician; my in-house librarian just brought it home thinking my fondness for Johnny Cash might spill over to her life and this book. I did enjoy learning a bit more about Johnny and his family. (With apologies to Rosanne, I'm afraid I didn't stay all that interested in *her* life, which is her cross to bear, I suppose.) For the first 75 pages or so I had no idea why anyone was reading this book and praisin ...more
George
ENTERTAINING BUT SAD.

“Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong.” ― Rosanne Cash, Composed: A Memoir

There’s an awful lot about loss in this book, COMPOSED: A Memoir, by Rosanne Cash. In fact, her eulogy of her step-mom, June Carter Cash, was the most interesting, one of the most poignant passages of her tale.

It is amazing all the things that happen to people in the course of a lifetime. Some uplifting, some tragic. On balance it would seem that Rosanne Cash
...more
Elisabeth
Oct 20, 2010 Elisabeth rated it liked it
I'm not entirely sure what I expected from Composed, but I picked it up with a vague idea in mind of learning more about Johnny & June Carter Cash from the perspective of one of their children. I was wrong, and I was pleasantly surprised. Composed primarily tells the story of her professional development, as it was affected by her childhood, adolescence, and her non-professional adult life. While it contains some wonderful notes about her parents & stepparents, it is first and foremost a ...more
Kyli
Jun 17, 2012 Kyli rated it it was ok
I was planning on giving this book 3 stars until I got to page 224 and read this: "I adamantly refuse to join any community that identifies itself by an illness. This idea of becoming a spokesperson for this condition, which I was asked to do before the staples were even out of my head, was appalling to me, and entirely against my nature and sense of privacy - I was not inclined to trade publicly on anything related to my health or body, even, unfortunately in the service of others who suffer ...more
Louise
Nov 27, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it
I saw the movie "Walk the Line", but the film did not portray the rich and wonderful relationship Johnny Cash had with his oldest daughter that comes through in this book. Johnny Cash is constantly there for her, as a father, mentor and friend.

2010 seems to have been the year of the singer memoir. Of ones by women that I've read "Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir", "Lips Unsealed: A Memoir", "Just Kids" and now "Composed", the life stories are very different. While Smith's book is limit
...more
Megan
Dec 19, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
It's not surprising that Rosanne Cash is a good writer. As a musician, composer and lyricist, she has honed these skills nearly all of her life. And, it didn't hurt that she's got some pretty powerful genes coming from, not only her famous father, but also her less well-known mother. Ms. Cash's ability to relate family and relationship dynamics is paramount in this book. And she does it without judgement, but rather as a seasoned observer. Both the dysfunctional and the exemplary models are desc ...more
Kim
Jul 27, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: entertainment
Rosanne Cash's interview on Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast is what led me to Composed. I had never been particularly interested in Rosanne or her dad (although, years ago, I was riveted by the movie, Walk the Line), but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend listening to the audiobook so you can hear Rosanne's memoir in her own voice, occasionally accompanied by original music from her husband, John Leventhal. Beautiful.
Susan
Jul 29, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Having just finished Rodney Crowell's Chinaberry Sidewalks, reading the memoir of his former wife seemed fitting. They were both very respectful of each other. Neither book is a trashy "tell-all" meant for the National Enquirer's readership.

While I connected with Crowell's book culturally, I read Cash's book with the enthusiasm of one who's found a new friend who "gets it." Cash's Nashville pedigree provides her with amazing experiences, but its her introspection and sojourner's spirit that prov
...more
Kerry
Feb 10, 2016 Kerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Gee, I'm really not sure how I feel about this book. It's a memoir but she never seems to delve deep enough into her own life. It all feels like surface. Impressions. Feelings. There are big ideas here about art and grief and living an independent life, but it just never connected for me. The part of the book I enjoyed the most was her eulogy to June Carter Cash. That was truly beautiful and touching. Near the end when she writes about her traumatic brain surgery I was disappointed in her attitu ...more
Laura
Oct 03, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
Cash is likeable and a great storyteller. I enjoyed getting to know more about her and her friends and family. She's very upfront about her family's history of substance abuse, and she writes about heartbreak and pain very beautifully.

I felt that she treaded too lightly over her divorce from Rodney Crowell - she details the hurt she felt, but never explains why. In general, there were other relationships that I wanted to hear more about (like with her step-family and June Carter). Also, the book
...more
Scottsdale Public Library
A beautifully written memoir by Rosanne Cash, the famous singer and daughter of Johnny Cash, that covers everything from her parents painful split when she was a child, to touring with her father and launching her own career as a young adult, to living in New York on 9/11 and her recent brain surgery. Lush with stories and sneek peeks into the lives of the Cash and Carter families and other Country greats this is a must read for music lovers!

-Lindsey D.-

Erika Marks
Aug 17, 2011 Erika Marks rated it really liked it
A lovingly and beautifully written memoir, understated and powerful, Ms. Cash shares, and often with aching honesty, pieces of her life and her passions. She reserves falling into tabloid confessions in private matters, which only serves to give more power to the sections of the book that address the intimacies of her music and her sometimes challenging, but always tender, relationship with her father. There are frequent distillations of her songs and how she came to shape the lyrics, which is e ...more
Mary
Aug 26, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-to-a-friend
Awesome book! Cash puts her life into perspective and brings the reader into her world, which isn't much different than yours or mine -- just on a different level. She talks candidly about the vastness of her legendary father's shadow and how difficult it was to maintain her own identity amidst the fame and fortune of being born into one of the most iconic country music families we'll probably ever know. She aspired to be a writer but her gift for song couldn't be silenced. She bares her soul an ...more
Paula Dembeck
Sep 15, 2014 Paula Dembeck rated it really liked it
This memoir by a well known singer and song writer has been a delightful surprise. I am not sure what I expected when I picked up this book after reading a favourable review, but I was certainly not expecting to find this thoughtful overflow of words. And I am not sure why not, after all she is an accomplished songwriter, so why would I not expect insightful and even elegant prose?? Well I must say I did find it.
Roseanne invites us into her life beginning with her childhood days with her mothe
...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
This is a memoir of substance, interweaving biographical facts with reflections on the meaning of family, the art of songwriting and so much more. Cash impresses me with her lack of celebrity ego. She is a seeker of truths and a talented word weaver. Just reading the eulogies she wrote for her father, mother and step-mother was a privilege. There is one passage on page 176 that really spoke to me, about how she relates to the ocean, having taken every sorrow of her life to the sea. Cash thinks o ...more
Lisa A. Carlson
Aug 20, 2014 Lisa A. Carlson rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: memoir
Grammy Award winner Rosanne Cash is currently touring and will be stopping in Minnesota in September. While I have never listened to her music she always gets great reviews when she comes in concert. So it seems appropriate to read her memoir before I attend her show. The only negative in this storyline is the narrative jumps around constantly but her story is fascinating, illuminating, at times heartbreaking and finally peaceful. We understand how her parents, Johnny and Vivian came together an ...more
Brent Wilson
Aug 14, 2016 Brent Wilson rated it really liked it
I've always admired Rosanne Cash as a singer-songwriter; this was a chance to get to know her better, and a refracted view of her father through her eyes. I came away with renewed respect. She is generous toward all of her parents and step-parents - her mother Vivian and father John in particular. Her step-mom June is a minor figure but respectfully treated. Her siblings, spouses, children, and lovers - all conveyed warmly, including Rodney Crowell.

Father John seemed to have a special connection
...more
Anne Jordan-Baker
Jun 19, 2015 Anne Jordan-Baker rated it it was amazing
This is probably the most interesting autobiography I've read, full of strange and fascinating language. I am in love with the paragraph that starts with, "If Magritte had painted my childhood...." A very interesting way to sum up her most memorable childhood images. Brilliant and breathtaking.
BMR, MSW, LSW
Sep 01, 2014 BMR, MSW, LSW rated it really liked it
I am not a fan of memoirs, as I said before. They're more like vignettes, a 'greatest hits' of one's life.

Rosanne told what she felt comfortable telling, which is understandable. An interesting life, do you ever live down a legend for a parent? Hard to tell. I guess you just have to become comfortable with yourself in the shadow. I cannot imagine dealing with a fictionalized version of a deeply painful time, like the family had to deal with for the release of "Walk The Line." Plus all those deat
...more
David Wallis
Jan 27, 2014 David Wallis rated it really liked it
Shelves: music-bio
I was a casual fan of her music, but a huge fan/disciple of her father. So, when I saw this hardcover in the bargain bin at BN for a paltry $2 I picked it up.

I started relistening to her music as I read it and realized she was doing 'adult alternative' before there was such a thing. It was never really about Country with her. Especially that thing that calls itself Country these days.

And SURPRISE her prose is as good, if not better, than her music. She has a great writing voice. She by no means
...more
Nancy
Jul 14, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
A view into a family from poor origins dealing with fame through two generations. Roseanne's unique way of coping with growing up in the shadow of her father and stepmother is not a linear path. Her persistence and honesty are admirable Maybe TMI at times.
Evi
Jan 28, 2014 Evi rated it liked it
Found this book at a used book sale. Since I'm a fan of country music and always enjoyed listening to her father's music, it was a safe buy.

Nothing special, but I enjoyed the book and the little inside stories about the Cash family.
Christine Somers
Sep 01, 2016 Christine Somers rated it really liked it
Rosanne Cash, in her book Composed A Memoir, found the perfect blend of artistic reveal and family history. I have often wondered how a creative person views his or her art after 20 or 30 years later. Does it bring back good memories or painful one? RC answered that question by acknowledging she can't listen to some of her records because of the memories associated with them. In Composed, RC shares with the reader where she was in life, her emotional and mental state and how the time and feeling ...more
Emily
Sep 01, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
In her concert this summer, Rosanne Cash asked a great question of the audience: “How many songs today use the word ‘scaffold’”? Indeed, one of the best parts of this memoir is Cash’s brief history of country music as it used to be: preoccupied with the grim, hardscrabble existence of mountain people, replete with themes of early, violent death. The music has changed, but Cash’s fidelity to her roots has not. “Composed” is the story of her awakening to her own musical DNA and her respect for the ...more
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Roseanne Cash is a four time Grammy award winning American singer-songwriter and author. She is the eldest daughter of country music icon Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto.

Cash married country music singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell in 1979. They have three daughters: Caitlin, Chelsea and Carrie. They divorced in 1992. She married her second husband, John Leventhal, in 1995, and they h
...more
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“For me, art is a more trustworthy expression of God than religion.” 4 likes
“Loss is the great unifier, the terrible club to which we all eventually belong.” 4 likes
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