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Garden & Gun December 2013

Rosanne Cash's Ode to the South

"The opening track, 'A Feather’s Not a Bird,' came out of one of your first trips back, in 2010.

John and I went to Natalie Chanin’s workshop in Florence, Alabama. Her company is Alabama Chanin, and I had seen her clothes at Barneys and Bergdorf’s. I’d go through the rack and finger every piece of her clothing, just touching the threads and marveling at something that was original and hand stitched like that at Barneys. We met in New York and just started talking as if we had known each other our whole lives. In Alabama, Natalie took John and me to the magic wall, the Sacred Indian Stone Wall memorial, which is the longest freestanding, nonmortared wall in America. It has this mystical quality. It was so powerful! I felt like something was meditating me, instead of me meditating it. Then we went to Muscle Shoals, to the FAME studios, and soaked up that vibe, and then on through Mississippi to Memphis and into Arkansas, to my dad’s boyhood home, which was a disaster. It was falling down, and the plan was to restore not only the house, but the Dyess Colony—the administration building, the co-op, the movie theater, all of it. It’s historically important. It doesn’t get much attention in our nation’s history, but it was a planned community founded in 1934. The New Deal saved the Cash family." —Rosanne Cash

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