Review: Caitlin Rose, “The Stand-In”

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“The Stand-In” by Caitlin Rose came out this month.

Nashville singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose is young. That’s unfortunate, because such a superficial detail makes it seem inevitable that she’ll be compared to someone like Taylor Swift. And she deserves better.

On her sophomore album, “The Stand-In” (released March 5), Rose demonstrates a sensibility that makes her seem older than her 26 years.

The twangy “I Was Cruel” sounds like it would play well on the Grand Ole Opry stage in Patsy Cline’s day. “Dallas,” and “No One To Call” and the infectious “Only A Clown” show that Rose can add pop without making the songs fizzle.

Rose knows how to craft a song that sounds personal and relatable. “Menagerie,” an uptempo rocker about a failed relationship, describes “two lonely people with nothing to say.” Then she describes stepping all over her ex-lover’s glass menagerie to “destroy all of his beautiful things.”

Trust me, it’s funny. You have to hear it.

She turns to old-school jazz with the final track, “Old Numbers,” a whiskey-and-cigarettes-laced song about breakups and regret. Though it’s one of the best tracks on “The Stand In,” Rose is at her best with the straight-ahead country songs that are all broken hearts and steel guitars. It’s those songs where the comparisons between her and another great singer, Neko Case, are most apparent.

Rose is not the first new artist to show a fondness for older styles – see retro soul artists like Mayer Hawthorne, as well as every new-folk group out there today – but Rose adds a solid voice and strong songwriting skills to this movement.

It’s always nice to see someone bring back old country to country music.

Here’s a video of Rose performing “I Was Cruel.” Share your thoughts in the comments.

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