CANADIAN-BORN, AUSTIN-BASED COUNTRY SONGWRITER WITH '60S INFLUENCED NEW LP, ‘RULE 62’
$12 advance / $14 day of show
Rewind to January 2017. Early this year, Rose was primed to release South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to Austin, Texas. (Rolling Stone noted that it “bristles with local flavor.”) Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force (and “country hair” disciple) packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks’ Raul Malo. In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas channeled the tumult, turbulence and tension outside of the studio into Rose’s sophomore worldwide release, which includes nine self-penned songs. Playful yet uncompromising, Whitney Rose reminds us of popular music’s rich history of strong female voices and perspectives, and on Rule 62, she channels her inner Nancy Sinatra, Bobbie Gentry and Françoise Hardy. Rule 62 finds Rose “breaking up with patriarchy,” a breakup evidenced by new songs that show verve, swagger and self-assurance in Rose’s instinctive sense of tone, broadened scope and attention to detail.
“ A sultry country classicist with a tremble in her voice, Whitney Rose is partial to the magisterial gestures of the 1950s and 1960s." – New York Times
"Playfully croons through tales of love and mischief with girlish breath and devilish twang." – Rolling Stone
"A confident collection of songs that touch on the countrypolitan sound of '50s Nashville while avoiding retro cliches." - ALLMUSIC
"She pens nine of the eleven tracks, all of which tap into a stylized yet never clichéd, ’60s-influenced era in country. This is her singular vision. And with two terrific worldwide releases to her name, she’s just getting started." - AMERICAN SONGWRITER
"Meticulous in every respect. On Rule 62 she channels her inner Bobbie Gentry... In short, Rose does not limit herself, or want to be pigeonholed. She's doing it her way." - NO DEPRESSION
"Rose has acquired a deft talent for penning timeless material. Rule 62 suggests she’s firmly etched her identity in a genre that begs for singularity simply to stand out." - PASTE
"This is pure country music, Texas-style, meant for the state’s distinctive dance floors, nightclubs, dive bars, and open-air venues." - POPmatters
“Whitney Rose has been lighting up the touring venues ever since her breakout album, Heartbreaker of the Year, and standout performance at last year's AMA. She's been praised everywhere from No Depression to The New York Times. And like any serious heartbreaker, she's got a killer band” - NO DEPRESSION
Eight years ago you would’ve seen Chuck Westmoreland onstage, a busted sprinkler head of awkward and endearing gyrations, gesticulations, and sweat who came, as he put it then, to “rock [your] balls off.”
Eight years ago he would’ve been preaching psycho-sexual pop songs with his band, The Kingdom. Singing conceptually interconnected, insanely catchy nuggets about cars, gender metamorphosis, Dog Day Afternoon, and—somehow—Johnny Unitas in a warbling falsetto caught somewhere between the pearly gates and a truck stop.
Eight years ago. Before he walked away from it all. Before marriage. Before his wife’s cancer fight brought him to his knees. Before the birth of his first child chiseled away whatever remained of that almost-famous man that used to bounce around under the spotlight.
Nearly a decade later, Westmoreland returns with his self-titled solo debut, a powerful album that takes his gift for character sketches and deconstructions and turns the focus squarely, and unblinkingly, on himself.
Chuck Westmoreland is not only a history of his eight-year rock ‘n’ roll sabbatical, but a departure from rock ‘n’ roll entirely. Westmoreland’s work with The Kingdom—hailed by everyone from Spin and The Onion’s A.V. Club to Portland’s dueling alt-weeklies—existed in an ephemeral flight of pop fancy. Chuck Westmoreland has four appendages firmly planted in the unforgiving muck and mire of real life.
“The songs are about the lyrics more than anything else,” Westmoreland explains. “I’m trying to tell personal stories that reveal something terrible, familiar, and hopeful to the listener.”
Owing more to Gordon Lightfoot than Guided by Voices, Chuck Westmoreland shears away all outré influences for a singer-songwriter’s lunch pail full of bare-knuckle blood and guts. Much like Springsteen turned his back on street-racing anthems for noir Heartland story telling on Nebraska, Westmoreland gets to the gritty business of life and death and loss on his solo debut. These aren’t songs about leaving and transformation; these are songs about sticking around in the face of tragedy, setting your feet, and fighting. Bones are cracked open and marrow spooned out with dirty fingers: the good, the bad, and the frustratingly in-between.
Sometimes that darkness is lathered up with sweet, warm harmonies, and slow-rolling rhythms (“Pattern in the Blood”), sometimes it’s laid bare in a creaking, near death rattle (“The Clouds Beyond Us Carry Rain”)…and sometimes it’s clubbed over the head with a beer bottle in the heat of a honky-tonk brawl (“Satin”). It’s a riveting journey that at once pulls influences from the high water mark of late-70s singer-songwriters, while sounding in narrative lockstep alongside the current stars of country’s literary revival.
“All these songs are about the character trying to recover something that has been taken from them,” Westmoreland says. “Or the character trying to understand some horrible thing they’ve been given to deal with.”
In Westmoreland’s case, dealing with horrible things means releasing one of the best albums of the year.