Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

CAITLIN ROSE

Own Side Now

2011-03-27

FCC ALERT: 05 New York

Nick's Picks: 04 Shanghai Cigarettes, 03 For The Rabbits, 10 Coming Up

Review of Own Side Now by Caitlin Rose: Caitlin Rose has decided to take a page from The Kings Of Leon's road to fame and fortune – start in the European market and wow 'em there. Then come back home to Nashville the conquering hero. And I think it has worked. The arrangements on this singer/songwriter's first full-length cd are almost too good to be believed – especially for a beginner's first foray. The first song (“Learning To Ride”) has a very lush background, with acoustic, soft brushes on the drum, steel guitar, and mandolin. Of course, it helps to have grown up in the genre (her mother is songwriter Liz Rose, and her father is Johnny B. Rose). For a 23-year old, Caitlin's treatment of Stevie Nicks' “That's Alright” is pure country, and her singing comes off as smooth as Tennessee sippin' whiskey. The production of this entire cd belies the youthfulness of the co-producers, it is so full of rich tones and powerful strings. On other songs (“Sinful Wishing Well”, “For The Rabbits”) her singing comes off as innocent and crystal clear as a mountain spring, and just as fresh. Steeped in the country tradition, Caitlin’s music is not constrained by that “he-done-me-wrong-so-I'm-drinkin'-myself-to-death-song” heritage (“Spare Me”, “Things Change”). Her “aw shucks” style and wry observations are more modern than her inspirational predecessors (Bonnie Raitt, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt), yet her heart-rending honesty, easy delivery, and (almost) symphonic backup instrumental arrangements set her apart from her contemporaries – both “traditional”, as well as country pop. Two songs (“Coming Up”, “Shanghai Cigarettes”) are just delighful songs that weave in an out of different styles, with change-ups punctuated by a blowsy fuzz bass, a Nawlins bluesy harmonica, a sleepy slide guitar). The lyrics are so full of the heartache of broken loves in one song, and the empty pack of cigarettes as metaphor for a hurtful breakup in the other. Yet the musical change-ups and building crescendo offer up some hope for some kind of love. (But I have to close my observation that this very talented singer/songwriter has developed a jaded view of love in her short life; I hope I am wrong). Just my two nickels ----------------- Nick

ARTIST BIO Caitlin Rose's inspirations, from Gram Parsons to Bonnie Raitt to Linda Ronstadt, belied her late-‘80s birth. The offbeat Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist debuted in February 2008 on the Theory 8 label with the Dead Flowers EP, its title track a Rolling Stones cover with a pleading touch, laced with pedal steel guitar. Five months later, the limited Gorilla Man, pressed on 300 copies of 7” vinyl, featured re-recordings. Her debut album, Own Side Now , followed in August 2010. It was issued on Names, the label that had issued Dead Flowers in the U.K. Caitlin Rose – acoustic & electric guitar, vocals, co-producer; Ben Martin – drums, percussion; Jordan Caress – electgric & bass guitar, background vocals; Skylar Wilson – keys, peano, drums, co-producer; Jeremy Fetzer – guitar; Luke Schneider – guitar, pedal steel guitar; Chris Scruggs – steel guitar; Tristen Gaspadarek – background vocals; Rayland Baxter – background vocals; Johnny Rose – mandolin; Jim Fitting – harmonica; Ryan Latham – saxophones; Katie Studley – violin; Larissa Maestro – cello; Jordan Lehning – string arrangements; Mark Nevers – engineer, sound mixer, co-producer; All songs written/co-written by Caitlin Rose, except “That's Alright” (Stevie Nicks).

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