Caitlin Rose - The Stand-In

Caitlin Rose - The Stand-In

Taking in touches of alt-country, Motown soul and ragtime along the way, Rose never strays too far from home.


Caitlin Rose’s 2010 debut, ‘Own Side Now’, was refreshing in its often languorous, sparsely-arranged take on the Nashville sound. While there was more than a touch of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn to her voice, if those comparisons weighed her down at all, it certainly didn’t show (perhaps not surprisingly, given that her own mother is a Grammy-award winning songwriter). That album drew attention far beyond Tennessee, and made a sizeable impression in the ‘indie-verse’; that it was named one of both Rough Trade and Time magazine’s albums of the year shows how widespread the acclaim that greeted it was.

While the temptation must’ve been great to consolidate and hone her already impressive style, from the first play of ‘The Stand-In’, you can hear Rose stretching herself as a songwriter, never straying too far from home, but taking in touches of alt-country (‘Only A Clown’), Motown soul (‘Waitin”) and ragtime (‘Old Numbers’) along the way. She’s said herself that ‘this album is [her] first attempt at a high kick’ and that stretch, more often than not, pays off, not least because Rose knows when to hold back. ‘Everywhere I Go’, for instance, reaches towards the epic, but Rose’s restrained vocal judiciously anchors it firmly in the here and now to create a sense of unfulfilled potential, in keeping with the song’s message of lost love.

What’s most impressive, though, is the lightness of touch with which she tackles the material here, from the Whiskeytown-style electric guitar crunch of the album’s opening bars on ‘No One To Call’ to the woozy sway of close ‘Old Numbers’. The trick is that, while you know that she’s stretching, she never sounds anything less than completely comfortable and in total control.