Fill the signin form and go to your private zone.
Click HERE to buy a copy from Cameron House Records
WHITNEY ROSE BIOGRAPHY
Since storming onto the Toronto singer-songwriter scene in 2011 Whitney Rose has endeared herself to just about everyone with her intriguing, affecting and effective songwriting, powerful voice, immense personal charm, and throwback style influenced by Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells and, gender-be-damned, the likes of Tom T. Hall and George Jones. She started singing at her grandparent’s kitchen parties as well as in their little PEI bar at approximately the time she was able to walk and/or form sentences. This comes across.
Whitney may be young, but don’t let that fool you. There’s an ancient appeal to her. As Exclaim! Magazine wrote, “At best, abstractly, Rose is something like Leadbelly singing “Goodnight Irene,” beloved by young and old alike, timeless.”
Blue Rodeo’s Bazil Donovan, who co-produced her album along with David Baxter, says of Whitney: “The reason I was drawn to Whitney was because she was playing real legitimate 1960′s era country music, because there is none of that around on the radio anymore – there’s nobody that I know of that is making honest…what I call real country music. When I heard her songs, I heard what she was doing, I went hey – that’s real country music and I’m glad somebody’s interested in it.”
Whitney’s debut album features Donovan and Baxter on bass and electric guitar, respectively, as well as Michelle Josef (Prairie Oyster, Dr. John, Etta James) on drums, Devin Cuddy on piano and Nichol Robertson on a second electric guitar. Adding to the record’s stellar musicianship are Justin Rutledge, Wayne Petti (Cuff the Duke), John Borra (Rattlesnake Choir), Jamie Oliver (Big Tobacco and the Pickers) and Ted Hawkins (Lori Yates) on backing vocals, Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Wilco) on pedal steel, Kendel Carson on fiddle and another appearance by Justin Rutledge on harmonica.
Listen to two tracks from her self titled debut album, “Whitney Rose.”
PRESS – Whitney Rose
It takes about ten seconds of opening track “At The Do-Si-Do” to understand why a buzz around young P.E.I. native Whitney Rose has quickly spread through the T.O. roots scene. Echoing the likes of Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline, Rose’s voice instantly takes you back to a golden age of country music. This debut album confirms she has potential as a songwriter too. An A-list of players and backing vocalists includes David Baxter and Bazil Donovan (they co-produced the disc), Michelle Josef, Devin Cuddy, Nichol Robertson, Bob Egan, Kendel Carson, Justin Rutledge, Ted Hawkins, John Borra and Wayne Petti. The underrated Borra wrote the one cover song here (“In The Afternoon”) and it’s a sexy gem. Fiddle and pedal steel keep things authentic, and Rose moves from ballads to up-tempo numbers with ease. “Chivalry Is Dead” is an infectious, witty romp, while “At Least It Was Raining” showcases her ability to sell a soulful ballad. “Send You Away” is a touch overwrought and long, but those are minor missteps on one highly convincing debut.
Whitney Rose might be telling us that “Chivalry Is Dead”, but top quality original country music is alive and well.
In the late 50’s and through the 60’s, women with strong voices and stronger opinions were topping the charts as country music singer-songwriters. They released albums that featured glamorous photos of themselves, and their names splashed boldly across the covers.
With a respectful nod to those pioneering woman, Whitney Rose is releasing her debut album in much the same fashion. The fifth release by Cameron House Records is not only confirmation of the young label’s strength, but it is also an example of the quality of country music in 2012.
The first impression of this album is the quality of the voice of the young PEI native. Whitney Rose was born with the gift of a naturally beautiful voice. She sings the sweetest high notes, while also being able to deliver heart-breaking vibrato. You can hear her smiling on the songs about being in love, and you can feel the pain in her lyrics about heart-break. Not only is she an emotive singer, but she has power in her voice, too. As Dan Mangan would say, there is nothing more therapeutic than singing at the top of your lungs, and you can feel the release as Whitney sings out “the land that I love has betrayed me” on the last track of the album.
Lyrically, this album is very rich in images and stories. While some of the tunes remark on the bliss or peril of relationships, there are others that take on much headier topics. “East Coast Woman Blues” takes a very personal look at being the one left behind out of economic hardship. “Crimson Red” is sung from the viewpoint of someone who has no regrets about being the result of a good night out. And “At Least It Was Raining” puts all things into perspective in this troubled world of ours.
Moving on from the stunning voice and the depth of imagery in the lyrics, the musicianship of the backing band is another impressive thing about this album. Composed of Cameron House performers and supplemented by some pretty notable Queen Street West icons, the band proves adept at providing the perfect texture to every aspect of every song. Just the right splash of fiddle, a well-placed piano solo, the perfect guitar duel for the tone of the song; each track sounds authentically country without leaning on simple, classic country hooks.
Since she is now based in Toronto, it will be easy enough to catch a live performance by Whitney Rose and her band. Check the links below for the latest information.
Whitney Rose evokes country classics on self-titled debut
Whitney Rose has classic country music in her blood. Perhaps that’s because, at 26 years old, she’s already been performing it for more than 20 years.
“My grandparents ran a bar in P.E.I. and hosted a lot of kitchen parties, so they would come home after being out and I’d be around four years old and already have been in bed, but I would hear them, get up, come out and they would give me a loonie to sing Hank Williams,” says Rose, sitting at the Toronto bar that also houses her label, Cameron House Records.
Now, 22 years later, Rose is releasing her self-titled debut on Nov. 3 (stream it below), and while it’s definitely rooted in those sepia-toned classic country songs, she has a way of giving it a fresh burst of Technicolor. Whether she’s singing about summer love (“Daisies in Our Eyes”), prison love letters (“Send You Away”) or the very real pangs of being an East Coast woman whose partner has gone west for work (“East Coast Woman Blues”), Rose evokes the very best of her influences, such as Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells or Emmylou Harris, while at the same time sounding completely fresh.
Looking the part in a floral print dress, a heavy winter jacket with a fur-lined collar and drinking a Molson Stock Ale, (“the beer of choice for Cameron House musicians,” she says.), Rose stops just short of apologizing for her nostalgic sound.
“I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing to preserve what was good and to bring it forward,” she says. After hearing her album, it’s hard to disagree.
To prove her point, just ask any number of roots musicians that appear on her album: Justin Rutledge, John Borra (Rattlesnake Choir) and Wayne Petti (Cuff the Duke) show up on backing vocals; Bob Egan (Blue Rodeo, Wilco) plays pedal steel; plus David Baxter and Blue Rodeo’s Bazil Donovan co-produced the record, and play electric guitar and bass, respectively. Young labelmates Devin Cuddy (piano) and Nichol Robertson (electric guitar) also join in, to name a few.
Below, Rose discusses giving in to her influences, the underappreciated genius of Dolly Parton and what it means to do-si-do.
You’ve been playing classic country since you were a toddler. Did you have any go-to covers?
I definitely had some. There was this really popular country singer around that time named Keith Whitley, and not a lot of people know about him. He sang this song, “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” and it’s about when you’re with someone in an intimate situation and you close your eyes to pretend that person is somebody else. So I would be four years old singing this song, having no idea what it meant. I’m sure there were some raised eyebrows.
But other than that, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, that kind of stuff. Kitty Wells is a big one.
So I guess you have nostalgia for this classic country sound, which really comes out in your music.
I get that a lot and I even tried to fight it, because that is the music I’m drawn to and what I listen to, so naturally once I started writing music that influence would come out.
It’s funny because I spent some time looking for the original versions of many of the songs on your album, assuming they were covers of standards.
Well, that was the worry, that I was drawing so much from the past in so many of my songs without really realizing it, but I didn’t want to switch it up and make an inconsistent record, so I just went with it.
In terms of covers, there’s just one, “In the Afternoon,” which was written by a close friend, John Borra (Rattlesnake Choir).
Did you study any particular artists to achieve that sound?
I actually just started playing guitar a few years ago, so just being that green you’re kind of starting out with a few limitations. Sometimes I’m just strumming my guitar and playing that same old [doo-wop] chord progression, which can be put in traditional country as well as ’60s pop. When you can only play four chords, you can only write so many songs [laughs].
You have a song called “At the Do-Si-Do,” which is a phrase I haven’t heard in a long time. Have you ever do-si-doed?
I have never personally do-si-doed, although I hope that some day the opportunity may arise. In square dancing, the do-si-do is when you turn your back to your dance partner for a little while. For whatever reason I was thinking about this dance move, like, “Wow, you really have to trust your do-si-do partner,” and this song sort of built from that.
How does the songwriting process work for you?
Sometimes it starts with a concept, maybe something I witnessed walking down the street, and I build a story around it and give it a melody later. Sometimes I just hear a melody in my head, and those ones are tough because you really have to wrack your brain and make sure you’re not thieving anything.
This isn’t an autobiographical album, then?
I guess a couple of the songs are autobiographical, but for a lot of the songs, because I was studying English, I was drawing from those sources as well. One of my songs is actually about this Thomas Hardy novel that I read for whatever reason, Jude the Obscure.
I’m not telling what song, but I also noticed that as I did start to develop I was also able to look outside my own experiences and draw upon those of others. For that very reason, most of the first songs I ever wrote will never see the light of day. They’re just kind of ridiculous.
What songwriters do you look to for inspiration?
That one is really tough. Kitty Wells, I thought that she was a very clever writer. Hank Thompson, an old country singer, wrote this song called “The Wild Side of Life,” and the main line was “I didn’t know God made honky tonk angels,” and it was about a woman who couldn’t stay faithful to her husband. And Kittty Wells — it was very bold of her at the time — retorted with the song, “It Wasn’t God that Made Honky Tonk Angels.”
Dolly Parton is absolutely brilliant and doesn’t get enough attention for her songwriting. Something like “Coat of Many Colors,” which is also the first song I learned, so maybe I’m a bit biased. Actually, I did a show in P.E.I. a few weeks ago and sang that song with just my guitar player as an acoustic version. It was probably my favourite moment of performing on the tour.
That reminds me that I actually grabbed an old Emmylou Harris record the other day (Rosas en la Nieve) and most of the songs really stood up against time.
Emmylou Harris has one of the most beautiful voices of all time, and her ability to enhance someone else’s voice … she’s such a chameleon. She can sing with another person and it just creates magic. I actually wrote a song about that, “One Third Above You.” It’s rooted in Emmylou Harris, and then I started thinking about how working with someone else in terms of singing, or in any way, like in a marriage, how you can draw similarities between your ability to change or move to make things go smoothly.
But her version of “Love Hurts” with Gram Parsons, if you haven’t heard it, will send shivers down your spine.
Official Music Video for ‘Chivalry is Dead’