Rosanne Cash, black eyes flashing, red-painted fingernails gesturing emphatically, says she has a mission - to rid country music of the concept of woman as victim.
''Women in country music have just had a little keyhole through which to express themselves,'' she said recently at an interview here. ''There's been a tendency for women in country songs to say, 'Walk all over me' - and that's nonsense. . . . I defy the idea that a woman has to be weak to be feminine.''
Miss Cash, daughter of country music giant Johnny Cash, is conscious of breaking new ground in country, wedding traditional themes such as loves lost to liberated womanhood. Musically, she considers herself part of the new country artists who are ''erasing some of those boundaries between musical styles.''
Her current single on the charts, ''It Hasn't Happened Yet,'' is a feisty retort to the man who said she'd cry when he left her.
She has been nominated for Grammy awards, and for Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards. But she says she has her priorities straight. If she had to choose, she'd pass up her career for the sake of her family. She and her husband, songwriter-producer Rodney Crowell, moved from California to Nashville ''because of the kids - a slower pace, a big lawn for the dogs, to get that serenity,'' she says.