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Whitney Rose

South Texas Suite – 2017 (Six Shooter)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Whitney Rose

Whitney Rose firmly establishes herself as a worthy member of the Margo Price and Kacey Musgraves School of Country. There is far more to the connection than Rose sporting a bouffant on the cover. What you're going to hear is what some folks refer to as "real country," aka traditional country. If looking for blaring guitars, drums pounding and singalong anthems, Rose is not going to cut it for you. That's certainly not what this Canadian-born , Austin-based singer is about.

With 2015's "Heartbreaker of the Year" putting Rose on the map, this six-song EP pushes her one step beyond. Rose's voice is the main difference. While still sometimes tender, she also sounds more confident. ("My Boots"). There's almost a purring in her singing, a twang as well, all capable of covering the range of material. Rose starts with the Tex-Mex ballad of "Three Minute Love Affair' with lots of from Michael Guerra ion and acoustic guitar greasing the song.

Rose goes way back to the '50s pop with the throwback sounding "Bluebonnets for My Baby," a ballad punctuated by guitar, strings and Rose's more reserved singing. In a sense, it's a follow-up to her cover of "Be My Baby."

"My Boots" is top class twangy honky tank, though the sounds like it's the twin of Price's "Hurtin' on the Bottle."

The only questionable call is a throwback Texas two stepping pick "Analog," a song that because of its subject matter - preferring old school - may not going to stand the test of time. Not with references to robocalls. Perhaps cute in its day, but that's's about as far as this song will go. Then again, maybe this is what Rose is all about - eschewing the current country normatives of pop and rock for a dyed-in-the-wool country sound. The Hag's guitarist Redd Volkaert guests to excellent effect.

Rose deserves credit as well for helming the recording. She seemingly made all the right calls, letting her vocals carry the songs. But Rose also had the good sense to keep the music underpinning the songs front and center as well from the picking guitar in "Analog" to the smartly named closer, the instrumental ""How 'Bout a Hand for the Band."

There are two other questions about the EP. With a singer this good and a lot of high end material one suspects at her disposal, this should have been a full-length. And Rose could just as easily have called it "South Texas Sweet." This is country music that goes down real easy. Suite or sweet, EP or full length, make no mistake about it - Rose is the real deal.