Album Reviews

Whitney Rose

Rule 62

Artist:     Whitney Rose

Album:     Rule 62

Label:     Thirty Tigers

Release Date:     10.06.2017

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To live a balanced life, Alcoholics Anonymous’ Rule 62 sagely suggests, “Don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” Regardless that Whitney Rose exists by that philosophy, she obviously took the recording of this album very seriously. A Prince Edward Island Canadian, Rose seems to have been plopped by the stork in the wrong damn place. The airs of Austin, Texas, where she now calls home, whisk around every corner.

Good Lord, this 31 year-old lady’s a talent, and an old soul. Yes, an old soul, absorbed since Rose was two, sneaking downstairs in her grandparents’ saloon to hear, and shortly begin singing, Hank Williams’ “Tear in My Beer,” not to mention the Dolly, Kitty, and Tammy that lulled the patrons into a paradise. And that’s exactly what Rule 62 does, throughout. In “You Never Cross My Mind,” it’s an ironic, rearward bliss perhaps, depicted with the blues and gentle pedal steel and flamenco guitar. Rose wrote all of these extraordinary songs, save one. Seemingly simple lines such as “Truckers, they don’t know the road” and “Grownups never cry” come off profound. She addresses the unending road she now shares with long-haulers in a trio of tunes, with “Trucker’s Funeral” standing out because of its rich narrative and sweet, rolling lilt. But there’s also the dance-hall-worthy “I Don’t Want Half (I Just want Out),” the opener that swings and sways and reminds us right off that great country is always great to hear. Rose’s breathy voice might best be suited to the jaunty, Southwestern soul in “Better to Be My Baby,” or better yet, to “You Don’t Scare Me.” The sexy, ultra-infectious aura of the latter calls to mind none other than Dusty Springfield. The idea behind “Can’t Stop Shakin’,” which shakes as it should, was to shed anxiety. But recording it on Inauguration Day turned the feel into something altogether different.

Smoky, stellar production by the Mavericks’ Raul Malo, and a fine group of players including guitarist extraordinaire Kenny Vaughn, makes this retro-reverent, but sparklingly new country music nothing less than spellbinding. Whitney Rose’s Rule 62 balances the sultry and the twang, and the gravity and the playfulness, with expert, knowing touches. She’s a special artist to keep an eye on, indeed.

—Tom Clarke

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