“Low and Lonesome,” the new album from Virginia-born singer-songwriter Alexa Rose, is an instantly compelling and immersive follow up to her 2013 debut, “North.” From the downbeat of the first track, it is evident that we are rejoining Ms. Rose in another time and place, much further down the road on her musical journey than where “North” left off. This sophomore release, recorded at famed Asheville studio Echo Mountain, with full backing band, is a portrait of a young woman who has clearly and proudly been hard at work not only refining her craft as a songwriter and singer, but also living the life and earning the scars and driving the miles of whose fruits are clearly born across these 10 all new, original compositions.
Though “folk” is most likely the term that will come to most listeners’ minds, Rose proves to be far from one-dimensional. “Old Coat” is an instant favorite as it swoons comfortably along, powered by tapping snare and laced with droning country fiddle from Pretty Little Goat Stringband’s Tim Fisher, bringing to mind a young Lucinda Williams. Midway through, Rose relents to a bare bones solo performance on “Still,” a relatable account that is sure to hit home with anyone who has ever known the regrets of lost love. “Adrian” takes yet another turn and finds Rose strumming on her beloved blue electric guitar, “Fruit Loop.” This vintage pop feeling balladry is a vague reminder to the work of Stevie Nicks, as Rose’s nonchalant delivery ebbs and flows in optimal sync with her band. Other highlights throughout include backing vocals from fellow singer-songwriter, Clint Roberts, and sweet pedal steel courtesy of the Honeycutters’ Matt Smith.
"Low and Lonesome" is, at heart, a folk songwriter’s album; the simple arrangements lend themselves to the frankness of Rose’s masterful phrasing, allowing the natural beauty of her warbling soprano to transport the listener to new places through familiar territory- as if riding a new train down an old track. The album’s title is taken from the track of the same name. Written on a hand me down guitar from her mother, the title track is a toast to her heritage and its anthem-like chorus surrounds the listener with the heart and soul of Alexa Rose the artist, and in turn, ties this entire collection of songs together with effortless affluence. “Low and Lonesome is a song about knowing bad feelings are temporary and attributes some of that to the power of music,” says Rose. She sings, “I go to bed low and lonesome, but I’ll see you in the morning.” The song’s powerfully straight forward chorus haunts the listener like the feeling on the morning after a bout with a strong whiskey- a night which could imagine no better soundtrack than Rose and her siren-like voice, wearing paisley and her dusty Frye boots, serenading the Everyman (and woman) in the corner of some roadside honky-tonk lagoon with a somberness evocative of Gillian Welch.
released December 31, 2016
Alexa Rose: vocals, acoustic and electric guitar
Jt Linville: upright and electric bass
Tim Fisher: fiddle
Clint Roberts: backing vocals
Isaac Wells: drums
Matt Smith: pedal steel and electric guitar