Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Songs Their Fathers Loved

Nashville, Tenn.
On the face of it, they're not much alike—Rosanne Cash, Southern California-raised and, for the past two decades, an urbane singer-songwriter based in Manhattan; and Ricky Skaggs, raised in Eastern Kentucky and since the '90s a leading purveyor and proponent of traditional bluegrass, based just north of Nashville in Hendersonville, Tenn. But look closer and you see the parallels.

Both had strings of mainstream-country hits throughout the '80s, including 10 chart-toppers for her ("Seven Year Ache," "Tennessee Flat Top Box" and "Runaway Train" among them) and 11 for him (such as "Highway 40 Blues," "Don't Cheat in Our Hometown" and "Country Boy"). They were born just months apart; she's 54 and he's 55, and both have grown children on the eve of their own careers. Ms. Cash's daughter Chelsea Crowell will have her first CD out next year; Mr. Skaggs's daughter Molly is working up arrangements of Appalachian ballads, ancient and self-penned, for a 200-voice choral concert at Carnegie Hall.

Complete story in The Wall Street Journal.

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