Nashville’s Caitlin Rose first appeared on the radar of music critics this year with the release of her widely praised debut full-length Own Side Now. Rarely does an artist display this level of uninhibited honestly and vulnerability in their writing; the fact that this wisdom is found at the start of Rose’s career promises that she’s not going away anytime soon. Drawing inspiration from female greats like Linda Ronstadt, Patsy Cline and Stevie Nicks, Own Side Now is an exquisite collection, showcasing a maturity in songwriting that few possess at such a young age.
Although steeped in the country tradition, Caitlin’s music is not constrained by that heritage. Her confessional style and wry observations place her very much in the 21st Century, but the heart-wrenching honesty, lyrical prowess and dexterous lyrical delivery found in her music sets Rose apart from her peers.
Co-produced by Mark Nevers (Lambchop, Will Oldham & Andrew Bird), Skylar Wilson (Justin Townes Earle) and Rose at the Beech House in Nashville, Own Side Nowestablishes Caitlin Rose’s diverse talent as the real thing – with every song, she seems to be singlehandedly breathing new life into a long tradition of American music. Her modern take on universal themes such as love and relationships provide the listener with a unique insight into a world where she seems wise beyond her years.
The Steelism tapes may have just as well been unearthed at 926 East McLemore Avenue—a relic from a not-so-forgotten past. Songs like “Mint Julep” and “9 to 5 Jive” would have made Atlantic and Stax record execs giddy, circa 1962. But Steelism, for all its vintage chops, is happening now. It’s the project of Jeremy Fetzer and Spencer Cullum, Jr., guitarists who share a classical education in Steve Cropper licks, ELO synthesizers, and a dog-eared copy of Bill Keith and Winnie Winston’s seminal Pedal Steel Guitar book.
Fetzer, an Ohio-born guitarist with a natural affinity for the Telecaster, and Cullum, Jr., a pedal steel-playing Brit from Essex, east of London, channel the sounds and ambiance of rock and roll’s gold-plated past on their debut EP, The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel & Guitar. The duo met in Nashville and was soon together on a European tour backing Nashville’s Caitlin Rose. Their early songs create a musician’s roadmap: the languid “Sète, France” was penned on the Mediterranean coast, while “Lewis & Clark” can be traced to a Bozeman, Montana motel. The EP moves from a strolling Sunday afternoon soundtrack to raunchy surf rock and pedal steel-talkbox homage to Pete Drake. On “9 to 5 Jive,” you can almost see the hip shaking girls from Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser” video. Intoxicating, indeed.