The Jenkins Twins Ask ‘What Would Orbison Do?’ in “Rose Red Dress”

The Jenkins Twins’ new single—premiering below—is a love-at-first-sight country rock stunner inspired by Roy Orbison, Bruce Springsteen, and the 1983 cult classic “Eddie and the Cruisers.”

“Rose Red Dress” pairs the Irvine, Kentucky brothers’ drawled, bellowing vocals and foot-tapping melodies with twangy, thumping instrumentation. The final product is a sweet but melancholy love song built around a dance-floor dream sequence. It’s a wistful, timeless take on a genre classic.

“With the current state of the world, we have found some quality, isolated time to dive into records we hadn’t before,” one of the twins, Trevor, tells American Songwriter over email. “We found that most of our musical heroes have written this type of pedestal love song. So we gave it a shot. The idea of putting a loved one on a pedestal and showing them off in a moment of mixed love and pride. In a way it could be a daydream-esque song.”

You can hear that cinematic, “daydream-esque” quality in an early verse: “Long brown hair and hazel eyes / I saw you in the corner / watched you radiate light / I knew right then right there / you were mine.” Our unnamed heroine, we learn, is “like lightning,” “spinning like a carousel.” She’s the type of woman who “makes a shy kid talk.”

“We wrote the chorus immediately after watching the 80’s film ‘Eddie and the Cruisers,’” says Trevor. “There was something about the slapback on his vocals that made us want to write a song. We were listening to a lot of early 60’s country-inspired pop and Darkness-era Springsteen. We then took our ideas to Nashville in August and recorded with producer Derek Garten and a group of talented players, asking ourselves ‘What would Orbison do?’ every step of the way.”

Though the brothers were joined by a group of Nashville musicians to finish the song, they’ve always been a family band at their core (their dad, Wes Jenkins, used to back them on bass).

“Rose Red Dress” is The Jenkins Twins’ first release of 2020 following 2017’s Alive and Well and 2015’s Jellico. The song reflects a new approach for the brothers, but it’s indebted to earlier eras of country, rock, and Americana. 

“Our older stuff – we were kind of young then, and our musical influences didn’t show through as well,” Trenton comments in a press statement. “I feel like a band’s goal a lot of the time is to make yourself sound like the bands you like. That’s one of the hardest things to do. We’ve grown up a little bit and done our research, and I feel like we’re close to bridging that gap.”

Check out the duo’s latest effort below.

“Rose Red Dress” is out December 4. You can pre-save it here.


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