CAITLIN ROSE plays the Garrison on April 5. See listing. Rating: NNNN
It's often hard to get excited about the next big thing in roots music, partly because of the genre's limited sonic palette, and also because of the sheer number of acts gravitating to the alt-country formula. Nashville's Caitlin Rose isn't exactly remaking the genre on her second album either, but the buzz-worthy 25-year-old definitely manages to get our attention with her songwriting talent alone. Turns out you don't need an especially unique sound if you do it this well.
Much of The Stand-In sounds like something between Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac and classic Emmylou Harris, which is a pretty smart approach if you're trying for that timeless quality rather than a purely retro sound. If you're already a fan of Rose, you'll note that the new material is cleaner and more radio-ready than her earlier work, but she's still got character galore. Most of the tracks could be singles, successfully marrying a pop sensibility to country twang without sacrificing the best aspects of either approach. Catch her now while she's still playing small clubs.
Top track: Menagerie