Monday, April 29, 2013

This Rose Is No Stand-In

It begins with the sound of a heavily punched and distorted guitar chord immediately followed by the sound of a gorgeous female voice exclaiming, "I'm making a call to any line that's open." From that moment on, Caitlin Rose captured my full attention, no easy task these days, and thus I remained riveted as I listened intently to her second full-length album, The Stand-In, for the first time.  The opening track, "No One to Call," starts off like a rock anthem, but quickly and adeptly morphs into an alt-country lament. Much to this listener's delight, this album is full of delightfully surprising sounds.

Throughout the album, Rose creates, with a cool aplomb, a mosaic of musical styles including rock, alt-country, country, and a bit of swing. The stories in her songs are compelling and deftly written. Scanning the credits, I note that two of this album's terrific tracks, "Only A Clown" and "Silver Sings" were co-written with one of my favorite songwriters, Gary Louris.

I also note that Rose acknowledges the author Joan Didion for inspiring the moving tune, "Pink Champagne." An early Joan Didion essay, "Marrying Absurd," about the quick passions of a Vegas wedding, proves to be the source for Rose's song.

Throughout the album, Rose and her co-writers create an album full of meaningful and witty musical lamentations. A prime example is the music video to "Only A Clown":

It's easy to see how Rose was drawn into songwriting. It's what her mother, Liz Rose, does for a living. The younger Rose was raised in Nashville.  She began writing songs at the age of 16.  Originally, her work was much more Punk influenced.  Over time she has integrated increasing amounts of the Nashville sound into her music,  and the resulting sound is what is revealed on this album.

I encourage you to answer Caitlin Rose's call and open your line to her music.  Her album is easily one of my favorites so far for 2013, and I expect that it will be in the running to be one of my top albums of the year.

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