In 2015, Whitney Rose relocated to Austin from her native Canada for a residency at the famed Continental Club, but fell in love with the Lone Star State and decided to make the stay permanent. That fondness for the state coupled with her time at the historic club and the richly diverse music city all informed her new EP, South Texas Suite - which can only be described as an homage to her new home. The six-song project mixes Rose originals, covers and an instrumental in a record that’s confident, charming, and enduring. In advance of her heading to Nashville to work on her next full-length, Rose graciously took the time to talk about the album, her love of the state and more.
You initially came to Texas for a two-month residency at the Continental Club, but ultimately decided to make the stay permanent.
I fell in love with Austin, the food, the people, the weather – really everything. The residency was going well and I had gained a little local following such that all of the signs pointed in the direction of staying – and I’m really glad that I did. Austin is such a supportive musical community; everyone is really rooting for one another to do well and that’s a beautiful thing.
The EP includes songs you wrote as well as a couple outside cuts including Brennen Leigh’s “Analog.” What drew you to that song?
I discovered and fell in love with her music a few months before I moved to Austin. Then when I moved, her show was one of the first I caught. We became friends and I asked her if she would mind if I included "Analog," which is such a great simple song very much in the vein of what I do and how I live, on the record and she was all for it. It’s pretty simple how it all came about.
Another one of the songs on the EP, which you wrote, is “Lookin' Back on Luckenbach.” Is there a particular story behind the song?
I was thinking about a gig I had coming up in Luckenbach and it got me wondering if anyone had ever written a song called “Lookin' Back on Luckenbach.” We started googling, found out there hadn’t been one written and the next day I started writing the song which reflects on how hard it is for some people to stay home and fully live when they want and need to do certain things in life.
How did you choose the EP’s title, South Texas Suite?
I couldn’t decide what to call it and one day my drummer said, “Why don’t you call it South Texas Suite?” I’m a huge nerd when it comes to words and I really liked the alliteration and the way it flowed and thought the title was appropriate for basically everything that’s on the album.
The cover artwork is really lovely. Who designed it?
I was sick of looking at my own face on everything I put out (laughing) and wanted to do something different and original. I connected with Ben Clarkson and we collaborated on some ideas back and forth so that it is my face, but different. I knew I wanted big hair and if you look closely you’ll see images of Texas in it like cactus, a cowboy, and a windmill. I really like the way it turned out.
The EP releases January 27th and then it seems you are on the road, including a few months overseas, at least until June.
I will be overseas from the end March until the end of May. Previously, I played one festival in Spain and I was in awe of how much they embraced North American culture. People were line dancing, eating BBQ and were just generally were so appreciative of the music. It was an incredible experience and I’m really looking forward to this new adventure touring Europe.
Being that you’re now an Austinite, where is your go to place for tacos?
I’m a big fan of simplicity and there’s a place called Rio Grande in South Austin that makes the most amazing authentic tacos; they’re perfect.
For more information on Whitney Rose visit her official website
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify
Purchase South Texas Suite here