On a Friday night, after your friends have left you alone at an outdoor establishment under strings of incandescent bulbs, you give yourself over to just one more Abita Turbodog. You lord over a picnic table littered with empties, crawfish exoskeletons, corn cobs, and layers of The Times-Picayune soaked through with a solution of water, Zatarain's seasoning, the spray of burst corn kernels, and your own tears. Head in your palms, propped up by your elbows, you crane your neck to see the source of your sorrow is Esther Rose standing alone in a gazebo across the courtyard, strumming an acoustic guitar and singing the most beautifully sad song you have ever heard.
Alongside its rich history of R&B, jazz, and second line parades, New Orleans is also a bustling hub for country music. The city has had one of the more interesting scenes of the 2010s, a hodgepodge community comprising artists like Sundown Songs, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and the Deslondes, who ground their twang in old-school rock and soul formats. Originally from Columbiaville, Michigan, Esther Rose has been bouncing around the city for more than a decade, first writing and singing with then-husband Luke Winslow-King before striking out on her own.
How Many Times by Esther Rose On last year's stopgap ep, Esther Rose was clearly signaling where she was heading next. It was her cover of "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You), by her "guru" Hank Williams Sr., which was particularly telling. The songs on her new record, How Many Times, explore the same difficulty letting go, jealousy over new partners and feelings of helplessness contained in the 1950's country classic.