CAITLIN ROSE – Own Side Now (Names)

I got this disc by mistake, thinking it was the one by ex-Pippettes singer Rose Elinor Dougall (both female singer/songwriters with Rose in their name), but as can sometimes happen it was a really good mistake to make as otherwise I might have missed out on this great little album. Rose hails from Dallas, Texas, but has spent most of her life living in Nashville, which could explain why, when expecting to hear indie-folk, I was presented with indie-country music. ‘Learnin’ To Ride’ was my introduction to the music of Caitlin Rose, and it is a lovely country ballad which showcases her superb vocals and surprisingly confident songwriting for one so young. ‘Own Side’ is another soulful country ballad, with sparing use of pedal-steel guitar and strings to accentuate the sense of longing in the song. ‘For The Rabbits’ leaves the country behind for a try at a more modern rock song, and with twangy guitar and sing-along chorus she pulls it off effortlessly. Rose is hardly ever seen without a cigarette on the go, and so ‘Shanghai Cigarettes’ is her ode to her addiction - a great country-rock tune with fuzz-guitar solo and a lyric equating love with fags. ‘Spare Me’ is a great up-tempo tune with harmonica and steel guitar giving it a real country feel, but things change drastically for ‘Things Change’, where the mood is much more sombre and the country trappings are dropped in favour of an arrangement that brings out the heartfelt pain of the song. ‘That’s Alright’ is another fine alt-country tune, reminiscent in parts of the classic bands of the early 70’s like Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers. ‘Sinful Wishing Well’ is more of a country-tinged pop song, with piano and guitar the main instruments for a lovely acoustic piece, and ‘Coming Up’ closes the album with another song where Rose has decided that country can take a back seat, and has beefed it up with some boogie guitar for the chorus, which contrasts sharply with the pained vocal on the verses. So, was it a simple mistake, or did fate take a hand and influence me to get this album? I would never have tried it otherwise, as I had never heard of the artist, but it has become a regular on my player, and this is from someone who has reiterated many times before that I don’t really like country music. In Rose’s case it is her songwriting and great voice that have won me over, and so even if she is new a new name to you as well, then giver her a try and you might be as charmed as I was.

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