Black Music Matters Festival

Chelle Rose

Nana Hally River – 2000 (Bloodred)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

CDs by Chelle Rose

Chelle Rose's debut has some of the best production values of any first album in recent memory. It has confessional lyrics that hark back to something akin to Bobbie Gentry's "Me and Billy Joe." At times, it rocks like Heart in their "Magic Man" heyday.

Rose, who hails from eastern Tennesse, is to be commended for her efforts; it's not easy to make a record that sounds this professional. And while some may consider the disc a little schizophrenic - it zooms from the bucolic "Resolution" to the FM-classic wannabe "Young Wild and Free" (you have got to hear the guitar solos) in the space of three songs - it certainly isn't a part of anything Nashville is producing these days.

Songs range from the confessional "Daddy, I'm Still Here" to the family-history title track (complete with memories provides by grandma) to the bluesy rocker "Her Whole Life." to country-radio-ready "Goodbye." Rose may not be easily pigeon-holed, but you'll enjoy listening anyway. (E-Mail: