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Caitlin Rose

The Stand-In – 2013 (ATO)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Caitlin Rose

The promise implied so early on with Caitlin Rose's initial offerings - specifically, the covers EP "Dead Flowers" and freshman album "Own Side Now" - clearly comes to fruition with her sophomore bow "The Stand-In," a set of songs that finds her in clear contention for the big time.

Despite her relatively tender years - 24 when the disc came out - Rose possesses the cool and charisma that star power is made from. Singing in clear, dulcet tones and with willful determination, she drives the material home with a richness and resilience that leave an indelible imprint even on first hearing.

It's no surprise then that Rose has made a quick and considerable leap from those earlier efforts to the status she's achieving now. It's even evident in the photos that grace the cover and the fold-our poster within; in place of the winsome country innocent pictured before, Rose looks more like a chanteuse, and a very seductive one at that. So too, the emotions expressed in songs like Waitin', Menagerie, Old Numbers and When I'm Gone add a bittersweet edge, one that divides love from longing, hope from heartbreak. This is never more evident than in Dallas, where Rose's frustration lets loose with an expletive, and uses the declaration "I never in my life felt so alone" to sum up her sentiment precisely.

Still, it's to her credit that Rose never lets her sobriety weigh down her delivery. From the upbeat opener No One To Call to the chiming entreaty I Was Cruel and the ringing guitar that shimmers through Silver Sings, Rose's riveting vocals gives the music a spunk and savvy that makes these songs shine.