Release Date: November 3, 2012
Cameron House Records; 10 Tracks
Review by: Lee Fraser
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.