Nashville's up and coming country/folk/rock singer, Caitlin Rose, had her first taste of success with her debut album, "Own Side Now," in 2011. Two years later, she is back for more with her sophomore effort, "The Stand-In."
"The Stand-In" features a mixture of old-timey melodic vocals, mellow instrumentation and catchy lyrics. The style of this album is not like that of current country music artists like Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood, but of country/folk music that came out of Nashville in the 1950s and 1960s. With comparisons to artists like Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, Rose has been steadily inserting a very particular style into current country music.
Led by a banjo and a pedal steel, the lead single "I Was Cruel" (originally done by The Deep Vibration) is a groovy country/rock ballad about unknowingly being the bad guy/girl in a relationship. Although it is about a fairly melancholy concept, "I Was Cruel" is fairly upbeat and really does not come off as a depressing ballad like one would expect from the title.
One thing Rose does really well is presenting the typical love song or break up tune, but doing so without all of the melodrama everyone is so accustomed to hearing from most popular artists.
"Only a Clown" is another relaxing summertime song that has a deeper meaning. Clearly the concept of the song has something to do with a past relationship. Although it seems a little negative with the first verse, the negativity is cured by a very sanguine hook about putting one's music on, enjoying it and moving on from the past.
"Pink Champagne" is a sultry love song that showcases the talent level of Rose's band as well as her storytelling ability. The song is inspired by a Joan Didion short essay about the desperate and short-lived romance of a Las Vegas wedding. "Pink Champagne" has a lengthy guitar solo that makes the listener want to start plucking the nearest stringed instrument they can find. The power of this solo is not to be underestimated. In this day and age, one would never hear a lengthy guitar solo on any popular female country artist's record.
"Silver Sings" is a very upbeat song telling of how a girl named Silver sings beautifully. This could be a metaphor for the church bells that ring at a wedding or it could also genuinely be about someone named Silver. No matter what "Silver Sings" is about, it's still a jolly song that will make anyone's head bobble. On top of that, Rose's beautiful vocals will leave listeners thinking they just received an ear massage.
While Rose is certainly not the only artist with a style that is drawn from a much older form of music, she is one of the few doing it in the country music scene. Her groovy, 1960s gospel/folk inspired feel is very original.
Rose has the total package: a lovely voice, strong lyrics and a very organic style. With a strong debut and sophomore album, Rose has an endless ceiling in the country/folk/pop music scene.
"The Stand-In" was released on Feb. 25 and is available for purchase on iTunes and additionally can be listened to for free on Spotify.