Co-produced by Raul Malo, the Canadian-American country singer's third album, a follow up to the South Texas Suite EP earlier this year, continues her Lone Star state musical inclinations with an album loosely hung on break-up themes and her dissent with the patriarchy that controls both the county and the music business.
However, adopting the titular rule of Alcoholics Anonymous, 'Don't Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously', Rose keeps the musical mood upbeat with a set of countrypolitan numbers that keep the right side of slickly polished mainstream Nashville, kicking off with the honky tonk flavours of 'I Don't Want Half (I Just Want Out)' and rolling along though the likes of the rollicking rhythms driving Arizona, the 60s Lesley Gore-like 'Better To My Baby' (an influence also heard on 'You're A Mess') and the Memphis dance funky groove underpinning 'Can't Stop Shakin'', apparently written as a form of anti-anxiety treatment.
She gives good country balladry with the pedal steel streaked 'You Never Cross My Mind' which surely owes a considerable debt to Kristofferson's 'Help Me Make It Through The Night', the twanging chug of a Townes-flavoured 'Tied To The Wheel' and the glide around the honky tonk floor that is 'Wake Me In The Morning'.
I confess to also being especially taken with 'Trucker's Funeral' which, while leaning heavily on a marriage of the melody lines from 'Gentle On My Mind' and 'Snowbird', gleefully plays with the clichés as, in the voice of the bereaved daughter, she sings about her surprise at her daddy's secret other wife and kids turning up at the church. Rule 62 dutifully observed.
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