Own Side Now
Caitlin Rose is bridging the gap between mainstream Nashville and singer-songwriter honesty in the best possible way – combining slick production with songwriting that’s extraordinary for a woman in her early 20s, not to mention a voice that has been rightly compared to Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn.
Own Side Now, the debut full-length album for the Nashville native, is 10 songs with no duds that showcase the range of her musical ability, from pop through blues to the odd song that recalls the country hits of the past, but with a fresh style. “For the Rabbits” – written when Rose was just 16 – has presumably been chosen as the first single because of its clear potential for crossover success, but it won’t give listeners a rounded impression of Rose’s capacities.
Many of the songs carry the theme that is no doubt that of Rose’s own life – a young woman meeting people and experiencing many emotions for the first time, making mistakes and learning from them. “New York City” is the most appealing of these, a tale of a country girl in the big city, changed forever by what she experiences – but who isn’t as naïve as some of the people she meets imagine.
“Shanghai Cigarettes” is a clever song with a singalong chorus, but some may find it a little too clever, based as it is around a metaphor that is extended almost to breaking point. The metaphor problem also exists in the opening track, “Learning to Ride” – one of the songs tackling the theme of learning from one’s mistakes – but somehow this song works better because of its simplicity.
The final two songs, “Sinful Wishing Well” and “Coming Up”, are the most traditional country song on the album, and you could imagine Patsy Cline singing them – but not with Rose’s understated presentation and restrained arrangements that round up a very modern and very beautiful coming-of-age album.
Caitlin Rose is currently on tour in the UK, and is selling out some venues. Check the gig guide for details.