Caitlin Rose: “Shanghai Cigarettes”
This Saturday, Nashville-bred singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose makes a stop at Stubbs. Even though she’s from Nashville, young Caitlin Rose doesn’t exactly fit the squeaky clean polish of a Music City singer-songwriter.
Now don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty country singer in Caitlin Rose, but she, like many of her alt-country forebears, uses the genre as a beginning rather than the whole journey itself. On her first full-length record Own Side Now, released in August 2010, Rose strikes a well-managed balance between the old and the new. Her voice has enough contemporary cuteness to win over notoriously fickle indie rock fans, but there’s also a timeless quality. Rose cites female greats like Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt and Patsy Cline as inspirations, and it’s easy to hear their influence in her singing. She even recorded a country-ed up version of Nicks’ Fleetwood Mac tune “That’s Alright” for Own Side Now.
But today’s song of the day “Shanghai Cigarettes” is all Roses’ own. The song doesn’t only showcase Rose’s lovely voice, it also shows off Rose’s rare way with words. Over an Eagles-y swing, Rose compares ending a relationship to that bittersweet feeling of having that smoke in a pack. “Trying to quit’ll make you wish you didn’t start, When the box is empty like the hole in your heart,” she writes. It’s a mature lyric for such a young singer, but Rose has a sound that will stand the test of time.