Album review: EILEEN ROSE – Muscle Shoals

EILEEN ROSE - Muscle Shoals

Holy Wreckords [Release date 17.04,20]

Looking back, I had my last encounter with Eileen Rose with the release of her third solo album, Come The Storm, a record I had down as a strong contender for my 2005 album of the year.  Alt-country, what was I thinking?

Of course, much has changed somewhat in the intervening years, in particular with the re-emergence of Nashville, the rise of the Americana genre, and a new generation of musicians and singers.  And following Come The Storm, Rose herself relocated to Nashville, but her subsequent releases have passed GRTR! by.  Until now …

Boston born, of Italian-Irish extraction, Rose has self-produced her latest offering – a double album named after the studio where it was recorded – the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Alabama where icons like The Stones, Linda Ronstadt, Dylan, Paul Simon, Rod Stewart, and The Allman Brothers (amongst others) recorded.

Side A (disc 1) comprises 9 new songs (including, of all things, a cover of King Crimson’s 1981 single ‘Matte Kudasai’), and Side B (disc 2) 10 re-recordings.  All recorded with her band The Holy Wreck – Nashville veterans including Rich Gilbert (guitars and pedal steel), Chris Maclachlan (bass), and Steve Latanation (drums).

The appetite for Americana might have changed the musical landscape, but Muscle Shoals is still what I would describe as an alt-country album, with the opener ‘She’s Gone’ redolent of Van Morrison, and ‘Am I Really So Bad?’ laced with shades of Marianne Faithful.

Crimson’s ‘Matte Kudasai’ is less ethereal than Fripp’s version – here given a late Sixties Peter Green ‘Albatross’ groove, and ‘Get Up And A Little Too Loud ‘even have a ‘new wave’ vibe.

There are shades of rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, country, rock and everything in between.  And that’s a theme that continues to the re-recordings, with the Dylan/Knocking On Heaven’s Door flavoured ‘Trying To Lose You’, and the Maria McKee infused ‘Stagger Home’, highlights.

The sheer breadth of styles Rose offers here (and elsewhere) perhaps explains why she fails to fit neatly into a genre, and as a result remains somewhat ‘under the radar’.  A UK and Ireland tour was scheduled for April/May but now cancelled due to coronavirus.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

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In his show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on Sunday 29 March David Randall featured a selection of tracks from “Albums of the Month” (January-March 2020) (29:45)

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
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Featured Albums w/c 30 March (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 HARTMANN 15 Pearls And Gems (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. II (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 GRAHAM GOULDMAN Modesty Forbids (Lojinx)

Power Plays w/c 30 March (Mon-Fri)

LOUISE LEMON Devil (Icons Creating Evil Art )
BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE Winter Keeps Us Warm (indie)
ONE DESIRE Shadowman (Frontiers)
CRYSTAL IGNITE Black Mamba (indie)
PICTURESQUE ATTN: (Rude Records/Equal Vision Records)
SKARLETT RIOT Human (indie)

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