Eileen Rose boisterously commanded her band of seasoned country musicians, which included the “Legendary” Rich Gilbert (who has played with everyone from Human Sexual Response to Tanya Donelly and Frank Black). Rose gave him plenty of room to perform serious electric and slide guitar surgery, with each song containing a minimum of two guitar solos. As an entertainer Rose was a crowd pleaser — her banter in between songs was just as entertaining as her music. The most memorable ad-lib was about the recent Country Music Awards: “You know what CMA stands for to real country singers like me? Country, My Ass!”
When it came to the music, Rose bounced around and aggressively strummed at her acoustic guitar’s neck, while her band fed off her energy. The highlight of her set was a Tammy Wynette cover of “Stand By Your Man,” which Rose belted like an opera singer at a dive bar. Near the end of her set, Rose sang the last part of a song in a tender acapella sans microphone. For the first time during the night the audience was totally quiet, a sure sign of appreciation and respect for an excellent performance. After all, getting respect as a singer in Nashville, where Rose is currently a stay-in, is no joke, and Rose proved she is as good as they get.
Famed for blurring the genre boundaries with her four releases to date, you might wonder in which direction Eileen Rose will take you this time. The most obvious signpost is her recent relocation to Nashville, and a cover of Waylon Jennings’ ‘Luckenback Texas’ steers you firmly down the country road.
Rose disregards contemporary country’s strict rules, untethers its spirit and lets it run wild. The result is irreverent and gutsy. Reminiscent of her collaborations with The Ruts and Glen Matlock, there are tracks here that would sit comfortably within the melodic forcefield of the late 70s, the time when punk started to fine-tune itself.
Rose is wry and cynical as ever: “Then Christmas will come/and they’ll force us to put up a tree/Because guilt is never on loan it’s yours for the keeping.” Yet surprisingly, for all its themes of grief and anxiety, it’s far perkier than vintage Rose; the queen of melancholy is dead, it would appear. ‘Luna Turista’ peaks with the final track, the wondrous "All These Pretty Things", which struts and displays with astonishing emotional frankness before giving way to a bombardment of guitar.
At Our Tables
Come The Storm
Long Shot Novena
Shine Like It Does
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