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Whitney Rose - South Texas Suite

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 17 / 3 / 2017

Whitney Rose - South Texas Suite
Label: Six Shooter Records
Format: CDS


Six track EP from Canadian Whitney Rose shows that she found her true musical home when she moved to Texas

There is some good news for any country music fan living in Europe, Canadian Whitney Rose who won many hearts with her Raul Malo (The Mavericks)-produced ‘Heartbreaker of the Year’ album starts a widespread tour at the end of March taking in dates in the UK, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Now based in Austin, Texas where her current EP, the six-track ‘South Texas Suite’ was recorded at the city’s Ameripolitan Studios owned by Dale Watson, Rose will no doubt collect many new fans during the tour, even those who usually would give country music a wide berth. Although Raul Malo’s influence can still be heard throughout these six new recordings – there is a slight Tex-Mex touch here and there and Latin touches weave in and out of some of the songs - Rose self-produced this set of songs and she should be proud of the sound she has captured. Make no mistake, this is the sound of pure country but there’s something in Rose’s delivery that will appeal to those who are sometimes left cold by country music. Of the six tracks five are killers. The last cut, the short 1 ½ minute instrumental ‘How ‘Bout A Hand for the Band’ was no doubt fun for those involved in the recording but of little use in displaying what makes Whitney Rose stand out from the crowd. The opening cut ‘Three Minute Love Affair’ is where Tex Mex meets pure country and the vocal performance from Rose as she conjures up images of a couple’s feelings as they make their way around the dance floor to the sounds of the song is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s a brilliant start to the EP, touching, real and with those clear, pure vocals ringing out an undeniable heart-melter. If Rose’s vocals on that track made an impression then the following song ‘Analog’ (written by Austin’s Brennen Leigh) will confirm that Rose is a worthy interpreter of other artist’s songs and really does add her own touch to the songs she covers. Lyrically longing for the old days when downloads and the like had yet to be developed (“Keep your TouchTunes and Spotify/I want to hear that needle skipping on my old hi-fi/I don’t need a photograph/I’d rather have a memory/I want analog baby”), although her vocals still obviously have those country nuances, she takes the song out of the country field just enough to widen its appeal. With excellent back-up from musicians including renowned guitarist Redd Volkaert, the song can hardly fail. ‘My Boots’ has all the signs of a country ballad when it begins but it quickly takes a turn into a defiant statement of being true to yourself and not letting others influence the way you dress or behave. It shows a more feisty Whitney Rose than the one displayed on the previous songs and the last few lines delivered by Rose are some of the best vocals on the EP. Once again those backing her put in an incredible performance. There’s a 1950’s vibe to Terri Joyce’s ‘Bluebonnets for My Baby’ and for those with long memories names like Patsy Cline and even Loretta Lynn come flooding back. Rose’s vocals really are that good and to prove that she’s a songwriter of some worth Rose follows that track with the self-penned ‘Lookin’ Back On Luckenbach’, which is the highlight of the EP. A heartfelt vocal performance, sympathetic production and a bunch of musicians supporting her all help to bring her lyrics and vocals to life. It makes for a stunning performance. In the already overcrowded country genre it’s difficult for a new artist to make a real impression. Raul Malo obviously recognised that Whitney Rose had more to offer than most some years ago and, although she’s been building up a following over the last few years, it’s about time the rest of us caught up with this impressive talent now. With the forthcoming tour and this excellent EP it would appear that 2017 is going to be Whitney Rose’s year.

Track Listing:-
1 Three Minute Love Affair
2 Analog
3 My Boots
4 Bluebonnets for My Baby
5 Lookin' Back on Luckenbach
6 How 'Bout a Hand for the Band

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