Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 24 - Jan. 2008
OM-28M Rosanne Cash
Singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash’s music exemplifies the lady herself: intense, honest and timeless. So when asked to design the Martin Signature Edition guitar that would bear her name, we at Martin expected she would base it on the 00-18 Martin she used to play on the road or perhaps one of the Martin Dreadnoughts she keeps at home. We were wrong. Ever the independent, Rosanne decided on an OM and the guitar she created – the OM-28M Rosanne Cash Signature Edition – is the guitar she always wanted.
“I chose the OM because of the great balance of sound,” Rosanne explained. “I’m impressed about how consistent it is from top to bottom and how powerful it is, especially onstage. Also, it’s the perfect size for me. My husband John Leventhal helped with every design decision on this guitar. I knew what I wanted and John had the language – he’s a guitarist and producer, and understands the nuances of sound – to work with Martin in getting the details exactly right.”
The eldest daughter of country icon Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash may be best known as a country artist, but her music encompasses pop, rock & roll, rockabilly, folk and blues. She began her career quietly with a self-titled debut album in 1978, but quickly defined her unique style with the 1979 album Right or Wrong, which yielded three “Top 40” country hits.
Seven Year Ache, released in 1981, produced three country chart-topping hits and established her as a major artist. Over the next 10 years, her recordings – a mix of her own songs and those from some of the country’s best young songwriters – helped bring country music back to its roots. During those years, she had five “Top 40” country albums and eight more singles that reached “No. 1” on the country charts. She won a Grammy in 1986, taking “Best Country Female Vocalist” honors for the hit “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me” and her album Interiors also received a Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary Folk Album.”
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rosanne produced three albums of new material, among which 2003’s Rules of Travel earned her another Grammy nomination for “Best Contemporary Folk Album.” In 2006, following the deaths of her father, her mother (Vivian Cash Distin), her step-mother (June Carter Cash) and her step-sister (Rosey Nix Adams), she released Black Cadillac, a powerful album of love and loss, to unanimous critical acclaim. In addition to recording and occasional concert appearances, Rosanne has written two books: Bodies of Water, a volume of short stories published in 1996 and the 2000 children’s book Penelope Jane: a Fairy’s Tale. She is currently working on a memoir and an album of cover songs, both due out in 2008.
The Martin OM-28M Rosanne Cash Signature Edition features a decorative “signature” that ranks among the most distinctive in the entire Signature Edition series. A beautiful abalone pearl and composite rose inlay on the polished African black ebony headplate is situated just under a mother of pearl version of the familiar arched “C. F. Martin & Co.” logo. “It’s all about my name,” Rosanne noted. “I like using it in a variety of ways, both graphic and literate.” On the ebony fingerboard, below the long pattern “diamonds and squares” position markers, “CASH” is inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets in mother of pearl block letters. “The lettering is very special,” she explained. “I found a white patch with “CASH” in block letters in my dad’s office right after he died and I sewed it onto my guitar strap. When we were designing the guitar, I asked Martin to base the fingerboard lettering on that typeface.”
A classic Martin OM, the Rosanne Cash Signature Edition features superb solid tonewoods. The Adirondack spruce top, reinforced with 1/4” width scalloped braces, is accented by herringbone edge trim and a Style 45 rosette with a center ring of select abalone pearl. The back and sides are rare Madagascar rosewood, with the former divided by an HD-28 zigzag center strip. The combination of body style, tonewoods and bracing give this instrument extraordinary power, balance and clarity. The grained ivoroid binding and endpiece are trimmed with fine black and white purfling.
The 1 3/4” low profile neck sports a solid, squared headstock and Gotoh nickel open back tuners with butterbean knobs. Both the nut and long saddle on the belly bridge are crafted from genuine bone; the bridge pins and end pin are pearlinlaid ebony. A polished and beveled tortoise color OM pickguard protects the top. The spruce top is left natural (without vintage or aging toner) and Martin’s flawless polished gloss finish on the body and neck highlights the beauty of the tonewoods and appointments.
When Rosanne Cash received a prototype of her guitar, she could barely contain her excitement. “I am SO THRILLED! I can’t begin to tell you how much I love it. It exceeds my expectations in every way. It’s so ME! The subtle rose and “CASH” are absolutely perfect, the color is exactly what I wanted, the trim is gorgeous and it sounds unbelievably great. I could not be happier.”
Delivered in a Geib® style hardshell case, each Martin OM-28M Rosanne Cash Signature Edition guitar bears an interior label personally signed by Rosanne Cash and numbered in sequence with the total number in the edition.
Left-handed guitars may be ordered at no additional charge: factory installed on-board electronics also are available at extra cost. The number of Martin OM-28M Rosanne Cash Signature Edition guitars made will be limited to no more than 100 special instruments. Authorized C. F. Martin dealers will begin taking orders immediately and the names of participating Martin dealers will be posted on this website.