January 29

“September When It Comes” – Rosanne Cash and Johnny Cash’s Final Duet

“A masterpiece” – that was what fans called “September When It Comes,” Rosanne Cash’s final duet with her father, Johnny Cash. It was one of those few songs that completely stopped people in their tracks the moment they first listened to it. 

Rosanne Cash said in her interview with the American Songwriter that she had written out the lyrics and left them out for days, noting that she was not as organized as her husband, John Leventhal.  

Since it was just lying around, Leventhal then happened upon the lyrics and asked her what it was. She simply responded that it was something she wrote. He then took it and wrote music to go along with it. When he was finished, he returned to her and told her that if there was ever a song to sing with her father, it was it

Meaning Behind The Song

“September When It Comes” was written by Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal and featured on her 2003 album Rules of Travel. It was her comeback album after nearly seven years, earning her a spot on the Top 20 of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. 

According to Cash, she was thinking of Johnny Cash then, as his health was already deteriorating. But when her husband suggested that she and her dad duet the song, she really resisted the idea. And she did so for some time, and then she realized that he was right. So, she called her dad and asked him if he wanted to sing it with her. To which he replied, “I’ll have to see the lyrics first.” 

The song was a story of Rosanne’s life told from her first perspective, narrating the phases of her life. It also described her deep bond with her dad, the acceptance of life, and the inevitable time of reckoning. 

She laughed at his response and noted that he was ever the professional. Johnny Cash accepted the project, and even in poor health, he went to the studio to record. He even told her that he’d do it again if needed. And Rosanne said that it was good enough. 

Johnny Cash died later that year, and the song would become his final duet with his daughter and the last recording in his lifetime. 

Listen to Rosanne Cash and Johnny Cash’s duet “September When It Comes” in the video below. 


Johnny Cash, rosanne cash

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