Fresh from her U.S. performance debut at Americana Fest, Canadian Whitney Rose brought her true blue country to the Big Apple for a short set at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 1, this past Saturday night.
It began as most shows at Rockwood do (with no fanfare), as Rose took the stage and simply started strumming and singing "Only Just A Dream." Her vocals, pure and delicate, sound even more so live than on record, while her three band members skillfully provided the rhythm and backing vocals. The forty-five minute set included the title track of her recent album, Heartbreaker of The Year, "The Devil Borowed My Boots," "Little Piece of You" and a cover of "Ring of Fire." Instead of trying to duplicate this classic, Rose tailored it to her voice, exceptionally covering the song while giving it a quiet, almost seductive tone.
Polite and soft spoken (perhaps slightly nervous?) when she talked to the audience, there was a confidence that accompanied that captivating voice when she sang, as she did on the appropriate closing number, "First Rodeo." With features on this site, Rolling Stone, The Bluegrass Situation and more, Whitney Rose is one to watch not only for the remainder of 2015, but 2016 as well.
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Alabama brought their Southern Drawl to NYC's Beacon Theatre this past Friday, September 18th. The threesome and their band kicked off their set with "If You're Gonna Play in Texas" and continued to please the crowd for over an hour and a half of foot stompin', toe tappin' music. They were generous with all of their hits--which sounded great--including "Tennessee River," "Dixieland Delight" and "Forever's As Far As I'll Go."
In addition to the familiar, they played a few tracks from Southern Drawl, their new album that was released that day. Owen commented that they had not played the tracks live and seemed a bit nervous as to how the crowd would receive them. Prior to playing the song, he noted that "Southern Drawl" had "movement" and while the song finds them embracing the current trends in country music, this New York audience embraced the song right back with an ovation that seemed to last for minutes. The same reception was given to their current single, "Wasn't Through Lovin' You Yet."
Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry were all smiles; their joy of performing in this "majestic place.....with lots of history" was felt by the crowd and given back to them in spades. A confederte flag was raised during "Song of The South" while a guy double fisting beers during "Born Country" had Owen chuckling aloud. People of all ages, from the eight year old dancing in the aisle to the seventy year olds clapping along in their seats (and everyone in between), were incredibly enthusiastic. With the amount of hooting, hollering and singing along, one couldn't tell they were on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and not somewhere in the South.
Let's hope they don't wait another twenty years before they return.