Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: ATO
Genre(s): Alt-Country, Pop/Rock
Captivating second album from the uncrowned queen of new Nashville…The past few years have seen the resurgence of a particular strain of American female artist, the kind that first thrived in Nashville in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. The likes of Lydia Loveless and Lera Lynn have set about reclaiming much of the untamed spirit of country music, girls birthed in post-punk bands who found telling parallels in the raw declarations of Patsy, Loretta, Kitty and their ilk. Best of this new breed is Caitlin Rose, whose 2010 debut Own Side Now suggested the arrival of an uncommonly assured talent.
It’s taken two years for Nashville’s Caitlin Rose to deliver the follow up to 2010?s Own Side Now. That record was an intriguing statement of intent for the (then) 23-year old singer-songwriter, meshing the sound of her hometown’s golden era with an impressive bite and oodles of chutzpah. If there was any complaint to be had about Own Side Now, it was that the record never felt quite a big as Rose’s personality – a disparity evident to anyone who saw her live and one that’s quickly remedied here.
01. No one should have to live in their mom’s shadow, even if their mom co-wrote the best pop song of the last decade. 02. No one should have to live in the shadow of their influences, even when they are comprised of my favorite singer-songwriters and writer-writers.. 03. So I want to give ….
Caitlin RoseThe Stand-In(ATO)Rating: 4 out of 5 stars “So long ago my radio heart got broken/the songs I want to hear, they never play,” laments Caitlin Rose on the opening track of her sophomore album. Assuming those tunes are a mix of country, pop and rock that dominated the airwaves in the mid to late ’70s, Rose is determined to create them herself. She does just that to stunning effect with sweeping, bucolic melodies enhanced by widescreen, Technicolor production and occasional strings.
It's often hard to get excited about the next big thing in roots music, partly because of the genre's limited sonic palette, and also because of the sheer number of acts gravitating to the alt-country formula. Nashville's Caitlin Rose isn't exactly remaking the genre on her second album either, but the buzz-worthy 25-year-old definitely manages to get our attention with her songwriting talent alone. Turns out you don't need an especially unique sound if you do it this well.
In a perfect world, Caitlin Rose would be a big star, and indeed, she may well get there anyway, given that she has a sweet, pure, coy, sassy, assured, and beautiful voice, and writes wonderfully balanced pop-country songs that suggest Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt, and the commercial pop end of Fleetwood Mac all rolled together. On The Stand-In, her second full-length, Rose builds on 2010's critically applauded Own Side Now, and delivers a strong and assured collection of songs that poise themselves right at the junction of country and pop, which ought to assure her of some strong radio play across multiple formats, since songs like "I Was Cruel," the gorgeous "Only a Clown," the stunning and precise "Silver Sings," and the melodic and memorable "Everywhere I Go" could fit anywhere into anyone's life. Rose isn't trying to be all traditional country here, or even all straight pop either, but somehow she effortlessly melts the two together, and this set is definitely a winner, full of solid playing and, of course, Rose's easy and comfortingly wise vocals.
On her acclaimed 2010 debut ‘Own Side Now’, 23-year-old Caitlin Rose stayed pretty faithful to her country and western ancestors, oiling the wagon wheels of her trad Nashville sound with just a touch of pop. Now a grand old dame of 25, she’s put some meat on her musical bones, cranking up a Stonesy riff on ‘No One To Call’ and test-driving a vampy demeanour on ‘When I’m Gone’, all of it sugared sweet as a nut by her silky voice. Not that there’s anything here that will scare the horses – surprises are limited to the near-gospel ambience of ‘Everywhere I Go’ and some fuzzboxed fun on ‘Menagerie’ and the whiskey-soaked ‘Dallas’.
At just 23, Nashville’s Caitlin Rose made a huge impact with Own Side Now, with her emotional heart-on-sleeve lyrics, beguiling vocal and subtle variety – from paired down folk (Sinful Wishing Well) to something punkier (Shanghai Cigarettes) – confirming her as a major upcoming talent. Critics universally praised her debut album by placing it highly in various end of year lists. Now, almost three years on, Rose returns with The Stand-In, an album she describes as her “first attempt at a high kick”.
Nashville 25-year-old Caitlin Rose's 2010 debut, Own Side Now, won deserved plaudits, but this second effort really ups her game. With pedal steel, Wurlitzer organ, slide guitars and strings, The Stand-In pitches somewhere between country titans such as Tammy Wynette or Loretta Lynn and the country-flavoured FM pop of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac. A smidgeon of Rose's old spikiness is sacrificed, but it's easily a fair swap for songs bulging with terrific hooks and killer choruses, all of which belie some melancholy content.
Caitlin Rose immediately proved she was someone to pay attention to with her debut EP in 2008. That disc featured covers of The Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Patsy Cline’s “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray.” By the time her first proper album came out a couple years later, she was receiving a considerable amount of praise, and critics seemed in a rush to compare her voice to someone—anyone—who would work. While Rose has a quintessential country sound, she doesn’t quite match Loretta Lynn or Lucinda Williams or Wanda Jackson or Cline or Iris DeMent or whoever the quick pick was (though, for the record, I’ll put her closest to Cline, but with a mismatched attitude).
With her penchant for boozing, smoking and swearing, Caitlin Rose is exactly what you want from your Deep South entertainer. Hailing from Nashville, Caitlin imbibes the music whilst disregarding the conservatism of the Bible belt. She makes country music with a cosmopolitan outlook, dragging the genre into the twenty-first- century with its spurs a-scraping.
In case you didn’t guess from the old-fashioned glamor on the cover of Caitlin Rose’s third album, its first song makes plain that the Nashville singer-songwriter has some quibbles with the modern age. “So long ago my radio heart got broken/ Now the songs I wanna hear, they never play,” the 25-year old laments on “No One to Call”, which starts with a rock flourish, then sways through a smart Americana tumble of pedal steel and buoyant twangs, like a luxury Richmond Fontaine. Of course, radio stations are fickle by nature, which is what makes them such an enduring lyrical metaphor.
Over the decades, the Nashville Sound– the well-polished sheen on country music originating from the city in the ’60s – has gone in and out of style. Where it stands now as bands favoring the rootsier side of country revel in widespread appeal is hard to say. Suspenders are certainly more popular than sequin-drenched Manuel jackets these days.
It's not hard to understand why gushing reviews of Caitlin Rose's sophomore LP continue to multiply. It's good, it's safe and the powers that be (some of whom touted Lana Del Rey, mind you) have told us to like it. The truth is that the record is good and, yes, it's safe, but it most certainly isn't memorable (with the exception of opening track "No One to Call," a blend of Patti Page and Lucinda Williams at a cheesy '60s pop-rock karaoke event, which lingers in your mind in a most unpleasant way).
Caitlin Rose’s 2010 debut, ‘Own Side Now’, was refreshing in its often languorous, sparsely-arranged take on the Nashville sound. While there was more than a touch of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn to her voice, if those comparisons weighed her down at all, it certainly didn’t show (perhaps not surprisingly, given that her own mother is a Grammy-award winning songwriter). That album drew attention far beyond Tennessee, and made a sizeable impression in the ‘indie-verse’; that it was named one of both Rough Trade and Time magazine’s albums of the year shows how widespread the acclaim that greeted it was.
If Rose represents the future of American country music, it’s in safe hands. Jude Clarke 2013 Born and raised in Nashville, with parents immersed in the music business, it is perhaps not surprising that Caitlin Rose sounds like the essence of modern country music. After youthful flirtations with punk, her 2010 debut Own Side Now was a charm-filled Americana-laden introduction to her talents.