A new set of songs by Rose has become an event for Americana fans who don’t mind a little eclecticism with their old-school country, and it’s been too damn long since the last batch.
Rosie is her fifth full-length album, and no one familiar with Rose’s work will be surprised that the songs display their creator’s wit, range, self-deprecation and bone-deep love of the traditional forms of American music that provide the rails for her gifts.
Like Harlan Howard and Nick Lowe, who could double as Rose’s country and country-soul touchstones, she’s always had an ear for the off-kilter phrase that functions both as a title and a key into a song’s or a character’s essence.
“Minding My Own Pain” is a barfly’s weeper; “I Need a Little Shame” is a sinner’s confession and refusal of kindly forgiveness; “Mermaid in a Pantsuit” sketches a familiar story in an unfamiliar way, a figure who wants more than her home can provide yet feels out of her depth away from it.
Rose is as sure-footed musically as she is lyrically. The mood is a bit more subdued than 2020’s We Still Go to Rodeos; there’s nothing approaching the rambunctiousness of “In a Rut.” But everything here is a keeper.
Cover promo photo courtesy Conqueroo