[wpaudio url=”https://americansongwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/shanghai-tape-final.mp3″ text=”Caitlin Rose – Shanghai Cigarettes” dl=”0″] [wpaudio url=”https://americansongwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/sunshine-tape-final.mp3″ text=”Caitlin Rose – You Are My Sunshine” dl=”0″]
These tracks were recorded by Steve Martin at Eastwood Salon, Nashville, Tenn.
There is a long-established pattern that shows trends in country music tend to sway between classical and modern sensibilities every few decades or so, and today, we clearly find ourselves sitting at the peak of a momentous influx of country music so poppy it could make your head spin. In the midst of the very city that enables this invasion, you will find tucked away at basement parties and dive bars, smoking a cigarette and drinking a whiskey and water, the rogue country gem Caitlin Rose. She will quickly correct your description of her music as “indie” or “alt-country” and prefers either Gram Parson’s definition of “Cosmic American Music” or just plain and simple: country. For,improper nomenclature delineates her from the godmothers and fathers she is oft (and accurately) compared with: Iris Dement, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt, among others. Essentially an astute student of country music, her irreverent charm and steadfast vision allow her an Appalachian-hinted blend of country that is at once new and relevant as well as thoughtful and timeless. Her songs deal with themes ranging from playful and silly (“Gorilla Man”) to somehow poignant (“Shotgun Wedding.”) In a live setting, she can make a crowd stomp their feet to a bluegrass-driven country song or suddenly hold their breath in fascination as she breaks down her sound to merely her voice and a tambourine. Conviction and soul are essential elements in pulling off this sort of revivalist, re-imagining of country, and Caitlin maintains these qualities as she continues to remind us why the good ole days of country were so good.
“You Are My Sunshine” is the cover Caitlin chose, and was one of the first songs she learned as a kid: “My grandma, my dad’s mom, used to call it her panic song. [My Dad] grew up in Oklahoma and, whenever there was a tornado, they’d go down to the cellar and she’d sing that song.” Caitlin delivers the old tune with the sort of spiritual wandering that occurs when you find yourself down in a cellar during tornado season, wondering if you’ll make it out alive.