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Caitlin Rose

Own Side Now – 2011 (Theory 8)

Reviewed by Sara Hetland

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CDs by Caitlin Rose

Much like the flower of her last name, Caitlin Rose walks a strange line between thorny and precious. "Own Side Now," the first full-length album by the 23-year-old Nashvillian, can be unapologetic in appropriate country music fashion: She croons about her chain-smoking habits on Shanghai Cigarettes and "angry broken heart" on Sinful Wishing Well. Other times, such as on the title track and For the Rabbits, her voice comes off eerily similar another befringed-brunette: indie darling Zooey Deschanel of She & Him. Both sounds work well, and keep Rose from being boxed into either the traditional country or the indie pop rock genre.

Rose also draws comparisons to fairly mainstream influences, herself stating Stevie Nicks as inspiration. "Own Side Now" even covers the Fleetwood Mac song That's Alright, which measures up to the carefree original. Despite her lack of conformity to any one musical stereotype, the songs are fairly consistent: None of the tracks feel like filler.

Rose's backing instrumentals, often guitars or honky-tonk piano, stay minimal. When the pedal steel or strings do play a bit more of a role, they still are understated, providing a nice showcase for Rose's vocals. "Own Side Now" is a wonderful debut album, balancing vulnerable emotion with a bit of Southern grit.