By Danielle Shields
February 25, 2013
Returning from her highly acclaimed debut album, Own Side Now, Caitlin Rose is back with a new found boost of independence showing off her country roots as well as expressing how she is more than a labelled girl from Nashville. She may be a mere 25 years old, but her impressive new album The Stand-In shows how Caitlin is wise beyond her years with her confident easy listening tunes possesses the song writing talents of 1950′s country classics like Patsy Cline, alongside having a rockier edge distancing herself from mainstream artists like Carrie Underwood.
Her ability to merge past and present charms can be conveyed through her covers of British rock songs, in which she dilutes them into her own formed era of music. Caitlin’s first solo EP album was titled, Dead Flower, after The Rolling Stones song and it includes her own version of the track. Also, she has made her own haunting interpretation of the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Piledriver Waltz’ for Record Store Day. For this record she has chosen to cover a song a little closer to home by the New York folk group, The Felice Brothers, called ‘Dallas’.
Caitlin opts for an electric guitar to begin the open track of ‘No One to Call’ before it kicks in to a catchy melody and unveils her warm flowing voice which makes song writing seem like a simple task. With the varying instruments like the saxophone and the mandolin used in certain songs and the use of collaborators being conducted on the album it is clear that as well as The Stand-In encompassing themes of identity it is also wavering over the necessity of a team effort. Jeremy Fetzer on the electric guitar and Spencer Cullum playing pedal and slide guitar encourage Caitlin Rose as a band rather than as a solo performer. The peaceful ‘Only a Clown’ and catchy ‘Silver Sings’ were both co-written by Gary Louris from The Jayhawks.
We could argue that the core of Caitlin’s music style lies deeply within the 1950s era of the vintage Hollywood silver screen. The romantic swaying nature of ‘Pink Champagne’ is the biggest evidence of this, where you can almost picture the song being played on a deprived jukebox in an old rundown bar in Nashville. Her vocals and lyrics are reminiscing of the way Hollywood starlets would speak with acidic perfection in such films as Casablanca. The tragic ‘Golden Boy’ is an antidote of Caitlin’s raw emotions being contradictory in the way you would listen to it when you are deliriously in love, despite it being about a break-up. Caitlin brings the best in old music inspirations and adds them to the high spirit melodies of the 21st century.
The young singer is attempting to escape from her country roots by delving and experimenting in other styles of music like Southern Soul and jazz. The final tune, ‘Old Numbers’ feels like a genuine homage to jazz. Whereas, the darker opening verse of ‘Waiting on a Broken Heart’ sounds as though Caitlin is going to launch into her own version of ABBA’s ‘Voulez-Vous’, until a swarm of guitar riffs and harmonies disintegrate this idea.
On the outside The Stand-In is an easy listening album that offers more joyful tracks compared to previous Caitlin Rose records, and one which you will find it difficult to not find pleasure in even if you are not a country lover. Scrape back the layers however and what we have is a young woman who has found her unique identity in a scrambling music scene by experimenting with influences to carve out her own voice.
The Stand-In is out on February 25 and is available from amazon.