Over the decades, the Nashville Sound– the well-polished sheen on country music originating from the city in the ’60s – has gone in and out of style. Where it stands now as bands favoring the rootsier side of country revel in widespread appeal is hard to say. Suspenders are certainly more popular than sequin-drenched Manuel jackets these days. But one of the best places to look for not just the legacy but the future Nashville’s style, is singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose and her sophomore album The Stand-In. Rose channels a vintage vibe without being a total throwback record. She has a tone that melds well with silky background vocals and just enough pedal steel.
Album opener “No One To Call” serves as a solid intersection of the past and present. While using instruments like organ and pedal steel, which more tightly fit country, the song’s electric guitar pulls it closer toward rock. Genre aside, Rose’s reputation has a lot to do with the maturity of her songwriting.
“Pink Champagne”, inspired by a Joan Didion story, is a song that paints a moody portrait of a spur-of-the-moment Vegas wedding. It’s not a raucous tune about a drunk decision, like one might expect, but instead something that resembles a tableaux of two people relishing the sweetness of the present, regardless of what might come. Or as she puts it, “We play love while the table’s hot.” On a more frivolous note, there’s “Old Numbers”, a song about dialing exes where Rose tells the guy on the other end of the line, “I don’t have you, but I’ll always have your number.”
Toward the end of the album comes “When I’m Gone”, a hooky tune about blowing town, filled with the restlessness of being one place for too long. But after being such a staple in the local scene, Nashville might prefer she perish the thought.
Essential Tracks: ”No One to Call”, ”Pink Champagne”