PHOTO CREDIT: Jen Squire
THE incredible Whitney Rose chats to me about…
her album, Rule 62, and the themes that inspired the music. It was released last October – I ask whether there will be more material this year. She discusses recording in Nashville and working with The Mavericks’ Raul Malo (on her album); why last year was especially productive; the three albums that mean the most to her – and some great new artists to investigate.
I ask whether Whitney Rose will come to the U.K. soon and what her tour dates are looking like; what advice she would give to new artists; whether she has any ambitions/resolutions for this year – what the music scene is like in Austin, Texas (where she is based).
Hi, Whitney Rose. How are you? How has your week been?
It's only Tuesday...but good so far! Bowled a really good game last night, which never happens; so feeling pretty damn fine.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm a singer/songwriter based in Austin, Texas. I write songs, record them and then travel the world to play 'em live - for folks who like the above-mentioned recordings.
Rule 62 is your latest album (released in October). What were the themes and inspirations that compelled the album’s creation?
Rule 62 means ‘don't take yourself too damn seriously’ - and that's the major theme in the music. A number of the tunes approach shit*y situations in a light-hearted way.
It was your second release of 2017. Was that a year you felt especially productive and driven? Was there a lot you needed to get off your mind?
2017 was definitely an ambitious year…
We released the two albums and played almost 200 shows - but 2018 is turning out to be pretty similar. I like the hustle and I appreciate every opportunity that comes my way.
Which songs stand as highlights from Rule 62? Is there one that stands above the rest, perhaps?
My favorite song on the album is probably Trucker's Funeral. It's just a really fun story to tell. I never get sick of it.
The album’s title is a rule from Alcoholics Anonymous: a pronoun-adjusted point of reflection that urges one not to take things too seriously (more-or-less!). Was there a lot of turmoil and disconnection around the time of the album’s conception?
What was it like recording in Nashville and working with The Mavericks’ Raul Malo? How does that setting differ from Austin (where you are from)?
I love spending time in Nashville (and then coming home to Austin). They're both great music cities but I find that Nashville is more a city where sh*t gets done; whereas Austin is more a city where art gets made. I like taking advantage of both of those things.
Working with Raul is always great - he's a master musician and a good friend.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jen Squires
Is there a productive and varied music scene in Austin? How influential are the people in regards your signwriting?
You can't turn a corner without stumbling upon some incredible live shows. I've met and befriended some of my favorite songwriters in the world here - and they inspire me and drive me to get better every day.
Your music and voice projects images of Nancy Sinatra and Bobbie Gentry. Who are the artists you grew up on? What kind of music was played in your house as a youngster?
When I was a toddler; I fell in love with Hank Williams, Dolly Parton; Keith Whitley, Kitty Wells and Johnny Cash (to name a few). When I got a little older (grade-school age-ish); I discovered Doo-Wop and fell in love with that, too.
IN THIS PHOTO: Lindi Ortega
If you had the chance to select the three albums that mean the most to you – which would they be and why?
Just three?! This answer would probably change from day to day, but three albums that I have listened to a million times and always come back to are:
Pieces of the Sky by Emmylou Harris; Heart Like a Wheel by Linda Ronstadt and Diamonds & Dirt by Rodney Crowell.
The vocal performances on all three slay me.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow artists coming through right now?
Don't read the comments. When you find yourself about to read the comments, go write a song instead.
What gigs do you have coming up as we head through 2018? Will you visit the U.K.?
So far, I've just been playing shows at home in 2018 (I have a weekly residency at the Continental Club in Austin when I'm not touring) but we leave on a West Coast run in a couple weeks for about a month. Then, we have a few weeks back in Austin before we head to Europe for a couple months.
We'll be in the U.K. in May!
PHOTO CREDIT: Rob Norris
Do you have any ambitions of resolutions for this year at all?
I've been trying to exercise more frequently and eat better. It's not easy to stay healthy on the road - so that's something I'm working on.
Can we expect more material this year soon, perhaps? Are you working on anything new?
I recorded a version of a song I've been covering for years - at the end of 2017 - which we'll be releasing soon. L.P. four is in its creation stage (which is always fun).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
How about How to Forget by Jason Isbell. I love that song
Follow Whitney Rose
PHOTO CREDIT: Jen Squires