I first got introduced to Whitney Rose's music several years ago when word came around about her Raul Malo (The Mavericks) produced album Heartbreaker of The Year (click here for my review). Then she put out Rule 62 which further cemented my trust that she was the real deal as far as country pop songwriting went (click here for that review!). So now we have a new album showing Whitney in a cover design that at first glance made me wonder if it was a lost Emmylou Harris record (that is a complement, by the way).
But really, if anything Whitney's new We Still Go To Rodeos reminds me more of Carlene Carter's fine records when she was backed by the likes of Graham Parker's Rumor and members of Rockpile including her then-husband Nick Lowe. Or consider even later tracks backed by members of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers (try this one on for a reminder).
In short: this album rocks in the best possible way. Simple production, strong songwriting, great hooks and Whitney's fearless confidence jumping out of your speakers add up to makes We Still Go To Rodeos a winner. For anyone who laments the state of modern country music, you should give it a listen. This is a timeless recording that could have been made in 1975, 1995 or 2020.
Produced by Paul Kolderie -- whose resume includes Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo, Pixies, Toots & Maytals, Hole, and Morphine -- even just listening on a basic CD of We Still Go To Rodeos the album sounds invitingly warm while, yet crisply modern. I haven't heard it yet on vinyl yet but when I get a copy I'll be sure to update this review in the comments section below. You can pre-order We Still Go To Rodeos from Whitney's site (autographed!) by clicking here. Or simply click on any of the album title mentions in this review and it will take you to Amazon.
Subject matter-wise We Still Go To Rodeos is fairly universal, delving into relationships, love, lost loves and the like.
The opening trio of tracks make for a punchy 1-2-3 album intro: "Just Circumstance and "Believe Me Angela" sandwich a song with one of those effortless chorus hooks I could hear someone like Dolly Parton tackle, "Home With You." "In A Rut" might be a lost Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers rocker. The equally rockin' "I'd Rather Be Alone" and the swampy "You'd Blame Me For The Rain" are standouts. The closing title track is a swing 'n sway love song, wrapping up the album on a sweet hopeful note.
We Still Go To Rodeos is a breath of fresh air. Great new songs that will no doubt sound great in the car when we can all go out again and cruise around with the windows down on a sunny day with and the car stereo cranked up good 'n loud.
I very much look forward to that time in the near future.