Caroline Rose – America Religious
“Caroline Rose is everything a queen of Americana should be.” -Dawson WhiteDawson White
out of 10
April 23, 2013
Chances are you, your roommates, or your sister’s boyfriend’s best friends are in a folk-rock band (or are, at the very least, fans). It’s taken over. From dustbowl couture to sepia interior motifs, the great folk revival of the early 2010’s has taken hostage every sphere of our vintage-loving nation, boasting music as its most prominent captive. With scores of suspender-wearing stomp-clampers inundating our venues and airwaves, I can’t help but wonder: Is anyone really that folksy? Caroline Rose and her debut album say no. America Religious balks at the pretention of a self-imposed folk lifestyle and, instead, lavishes us with the best of complementary genres folded into a new brand only Caroline could sell.
When America Religious journeys too far into a particular genre, Caroline surprises us with a taste of another. Too folksy? Here’s some blues. Too bluesy? Here’s some country. Too country? Here’s some old tyme with a dash of honky tonk. Each song has its own unique flavor while still maintaining an album-wide cohesion (a feat unmanageable by the oft-monotonous singer-songwriters of today). It’s alt-Americana at its purest; if our great country grew longs legs, a sultry –albeit jaded—voice, and a way with imagery, they’d combine to create the songs of Caroline Rose.
The southern rocker “Honey, I’ll Be Fine” channels a more pensive and poetic Sheryl Crow, unscathed by the content-dulling plight of corporate music and glittery dresses. “This is What Livin’ Feels Like,” an obvious stand-out, plays as a personalized “I’ve Been Everywhere” capturing the essence of an artist’s life on the road. The lively guitar and liberating lyrics will satisfy your dreams of summer long after the mercury has fallen. The fire and spunk of America Religious are offset with the wistful and forlorn likes of “Notes from A Bedroom Upstairs” and “Notes Walking Home from Work,” both of which gracefully delve into more weighty subject matter. I wasn’t expecting the hymn-like “I Will Not Be Afraid,” though her mastery of yet another genre shouldn’t surprise me. But her greatest work on America Religious can be found in “Here Come the Rain.” With her blues chops on full display, Caroline wails her story over layers of twang and Gospel undertones.
She’s smart, she’s talented, and she’d probably kick your butt in bar fight; Caroline Rose is everything a queen of Americana should be. Pick up her album and check out her tour dates at carolinerosemusic.com and immerse yourself in the tales of a true lyrical storyteller.-Dawson White, September 26, 2013