Whitney Rose enfolds bits of Tex-Mex and 60s pop into her lush, retro-tinged sound | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Whitney Rose enfolds bits of Tex-Mex and 60s pop into her lush, retro-tinged sound 

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click to enlarge Whitney Rose

Whitney Rose

courtesy the artist

Singer and songwriter Whitney Rose may have been born and raised on Prince Edward Island in Canada, but her ebullient music suggests she’s easily settled into the rich scene of her adopted home of Austin, Texas. Last year’s Rule 62 (Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers) reflects the ongoing influence of Mavericks front man Raul Malo on her work, a fizzy mix of honky-tonk, Tex-Mex, and a variety of 60s pop sounds including French ye-ye and classic girl groups. But country twang is her guiding principle, and her songs vividly essay failed and burgeoning relationships. The silken countrypolitan opener, “I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out),” is a classic kiss-off in which the singer doesn’t just leave behind an old boyfriend but discards everything that reminds her of him—including a ring, a cat, and all of her clothes. On the ballad “You Never Cross My Mind,” Malo’s sweet voice expertly shadows Rose on the chorus, where the narrator crawls through a series of ridiculous falsehoods (“The ocean ain’t that deep” or “Spaniards don’t like wine”) to parallel her insistence that she doesn’t think about the person she’s singing to. She takes a few clever detours from romance, including a couple of trucker songs: “Trucker’s Funeral” describes how much a long-haul trucker is missed by his wife and children, who learn only at his funeral that he was leading a double life and had a second family who also yearned for his presence. At first the soul-stoked “Can’t Stop Shakin’” might suggest that a lover has seductively infected her mind, but eventually it’s clear that Rose is trembling out of fear thanks to our current president, defiantly testifying, “I ain’t gonna let him win / No I ain’t givin’ in.”   v

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