"Nashville is just screaming hot right now," Rose said,
speaking to Reuters on the phone from country music's spiritual
home. "Everything's booming — it's on all the top 10 lists of
the hottest cities in the U.S."
Nashville's profile has been raised by the TV show of the same
name and country music is enjoying a revival, but Rose is
careful to draw a distinction between the poppier country
getting mainstream radio play and classic country music.
"What they are calling country now has given traditional country
a bad name. I have nothing against it, but I wish they'd call it
something else, because when I say I play country, people think
I mean songs about pick-up trucks and being down by the creek.
But that's not what I'm singing about."
Rose's new record recreates a warm vintage country sound with
pedal steel licks from co-producer "The Legendary" Rich Gilbert,
fiddle from Buddy Spicher, who has played with Bob Dylan and
Emmylou Harris, and "slap" upright bass from rockabilly bassist
Slick Joe Fick. Frank Black of The Pixies also delivers an
atypical vocal on "Each Passing Hour".
Rose moved to Nashville in 2008, partly at the request of her
publishing company, which wanted her to write with young country
singers, but Rose found it difficult. Despite this, she felt at
home in Nashville when she saw that "songwriter" was listed as
an occupation on her bank account forms. "It was like a choir of
angel voices came around," she said, laughing.
She now plays four-hour shifts with The Silver Threads five
times a week on Nashville's historic Lower Broadway, covering
classic country tracks by the likes of Loretta Lynn, Willie
Nelson and Johnny Cash. "My voice is bullet proof," she said.
Here are other comments she made:
Q: You have a Sicilian father and an Irish mother. How
has your Catholic upbringing influenced your songwriting?
A: Even if in your adult life you decide you don't
believe in God, that stuff gets in your bones. And those stories
in the Bible are so dramatic, you can draw from them.
Songwriting is about economy, so if you can use an archetype
like Judas, which says a lot with just the name, you can get a
lot of depth in your song without having to use a lot of words.
[to top of second column]
Q: "Be Many Gone" seems more mellow than some of your
earlier, acerbic work. What changed?
A: As you get older, the picture gets bigger — especially when
people start to die. You re-assess what you think is important. In
some of my older records I was hanging on to things in an angrier
way. Now I don't really sweat the small stuff as much. Also, I want
to write a song that's classic. I want to write at least one song
that outlasts me and to do that you've got to write more
Q: The new record includes "Prove Me Wrong", a song
co-written with Boo Hewerdine, a long-time collaborator of Eddi
Reader's. How did that come about?
A: We wrote that song years ago when I was living in a 100-year-old
dairy cottage in Essex (England). I couldn't have been living in a
more English setting and we wrote a country song. Maybe the universe
knew I would be living in Nashville before I did. We wrote it as a
duet so we're trying to get some dates together for when I tour
Europe in September.
Q: You've now got your own label, The Holy Wreckords, with
Gilbert. What have you got lined up for that?
A: With my next record I just want voice, acoustic guitar and
pedal steel — I'm curious what would happen if I limit myself. Rich
and I made a record at home called "Bones", which was really simple — bare-bones versions of my old songs and some new ones. We did it
in two days and it sold really well. So I've started work on Bones 2 — More Bones!
(Editing by Michael Roddy and Larry King)
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