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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Caitlin Rose - Own Side Now LP

Caitlin Rose is the ultimate proof that alt-country music is a wonderful thing. She has a voice that is delicate yet powerful, vulnerable yet confident and combines elements of Jenny Lewis, Karen Carpenter and Larry the Lamb. Her songs are bitter sweet tales of love, loss and redemption and whether you want to or not, you'll be replaying them over and over in your head after just a couple of listens.

It is one of life's greatest injustices that everyone loves that other cowboy staple: jeans, however absolutely nobody apart from me (and cowboys), love a bit of Country and Western music. I hate jeans; they're cheap, uncomfortable and made of horrible blue denim that makes you look like one of Status Quo. My advice is leave them to the cowboys. But the likes of Caitlin Rose deserve a much wider audience. Unfortunately this is probably not going to happen and the masses will continue to skip about in their denims listening to Jessie J, while the in-crowd are wearing sensible trousers and singing along to 'Own Side Now'.

I've listened to some cracking albums this year and this is up there with the best of them. Every song has its merits and tells its own little story. 'Own Side' is undeniably a classic and deservedly ranked highly in my Festive Forty last year, however there's so much more to this collection. 'Shanghai Cigarettes' is a catchy combination of harmonies and twanging guitars and 'For the Rabbits' is an anthemic ballad which is as intriguing lyrically as it is musically. Best of all is the jaw dropping, lo-fi minimal charms of 'Sinful Wishing Well' where Caitlin gives us the full vulnerable vocal delivery that occasionally dips into Larry the Lamb vibrato for maximum emotion. That's not to say the other songs are weaker as the whole thing plays like a greatest hits package.

So abandon all your misconceptions about modern Country music and give Caitlin a chance. She's a rare talent and one of the most emotive singers in any genre. I love the name too; Caitlin Rose is just such a great C&W moniker for a woman. Nearly as good as Hank Wangford for the gents. Just as a dog is not just for Christmas, Caitlin Rose is not just for cowboys. Recommended.

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