Caitlin Rose: The Stand-In – album review
Caitlin Rose-The Stand-In (Names Records)
Out 25th Feb. 2013
Nashville Starlet, Caitlin Rose, is increasing her grip on becoming an Americana Superstar with the release of The Stand-In. Chris Hearn takes a listen.
This lady is too cool for words. Although categorized as Americana/ Folk/singer-songwriter genre (maybe?), she also has a cool indie sensibility that sways from the traditional country sound she is credited with (thought seems to shun based on interviews). It’s a creative and welcome twist. Mind you, that sort of is the way the newer breed of Americana and Folk have been going. The two genres seem to be feeding each other these days. So, it’s not really a twist I suppose. Forget I said that.
She reminds me a great deal of Sarah Harmer or Kathleen Edwards, which in my books is a massive compliment. She doesn’t have a powerhouse voice, but she has a nice, cool, pleasantly twangy and a tad nasally voice that works perfectly well with her songs. I don’t get it though, almost every review I read about her raves about her powerful, big voice. I’m not hearing it here. It’s a great voice, and I love it, but it’s not a booming, soaring k.d. lang or Neko Case voice. It’s a lovely Caitlin Rose voice.
There are all the elements I love in songs like ‘I Was Cruel’, such as mandolin, steel guitar and some organ in the background. ‘Waitin’ on a Broken Heart’, where her voice probably shines the best, also brings in some old Motown elements along with some classic Nashville Sound, bigging things up in the background to make a rich, layered sounding song. ‘Pink Champagne’ could have been a huge hit for Tammy Wynette or Brenda Lee, but is beautifully handled by Ms. Rose.
The steel guitar drenched Felice Brothers cover ‘Dallas’ is a lovely, lonesome song as so many songs about Dallas seem to be. I don’t know what it is about that town, but Dallas seems to inspire heart ache and pain. Did you ever see Dallas from a DC9 at night? Then, when you get to ‘Golden Boy’ you get into a seemingly whole new light 70s AM radio friendly territory, which again she handles ably! ‘Old Numbers’ takes us on a bit of a stroll down Tin Pan Alley and her voice once again fits into this grimy, old timey place. I guess that’s what’s known as versatility. Clearly she has many influences which she can draw together under one umbrella to make a nice cohesive album.
There is some excellent song writing in here, something that she seems to come by through some good genetics, as her mom is a songwriter as well (penning songs for Taylor Swift of all people). Caitlin gets some help from members of her live band and from Gary Louris of the legendary Jayhawks, with a cover or two in for good measure.
All in all, this is good stuff by a really cool artist who is building a lovely bridge between Nashville Tradition and Indie Pop, with an American/Folk river running underneath (Ooooo, that just popped into my head. I like that! I can’t believe I came up with it!) I can see this being on all kinds of ‘Best Of’ lists come the end of the year, and it sounds like it already is on many. Good for her!
Words by Chris Hearn. More writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.