Whitney Rose

AUSTIN, Texas – There are many useful rules to live by, but for Whitney Rose, there’s one that stands alone as a guiding principle for life as she knows it: Rule 62. The origin of the rule is best summed up by the poignant, pronoun-adjusted excerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Tradition Four cited above, a treatise on how to find harmony between ambition and self-awareness, and how to learn one’s lessons with humor and humility. This truism, officially worded as “Don’t Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously,” is the origin of both the title and ethos of Whitney Rose’s forthcoming album, Rule 62.

The album is due out on October 6, 2017 on Six Shooter Records through Thirty Tigers.

Rewind to January 2017. Six months ago, Rose was primed to release South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to Austin, Texas. (Rolling Stone noted that it “bristles with local flavor.”) Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force (and “country hair” disciple) packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks’ Raul Malo. In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas channeled the tumult, turbulence and tension outside of the studio into Rose’s sophomore worldwide release, which includes nine self-penned songs. Playful yet uncompromising, Whitney Rose reminds us of popular music’s rich history of strong female voices and perspectives, and on Rule 62, she channels her inner Nancy Sinatra, Bobbie Gentry and Françoise Hardy. Rule 62 finds Rose “breaking up with patriarchy,” a breakup evidenced by new songs that show verve, swagger and self-assurance in Rose’s instinctive sense of tone, broadened scope and attention to detail.

Consider “Can’t Stop Shakin’” in the context of the day it was recorded: January 20, 2017. With Malo on harmonies and rhythm guitars, Kenny Vaughn on lead guitar, and saxophones and organ in the mix, “Can’t Stop Shakin’” was originally written as an anti-anxiety treatment in Memphis soul dance party form. Against an ominous political backdrop, the song now reverberates with an undercurrent of uncertainty and anger that reframes the self-calming shimmy as an act of protest. “’Can't Stop Shakin’ started out as something I would sing to calm myself down.” Rose says. “We recorded that song on Inauguration day and you could physically feel the divide between the public and the unrest in the air. I was in the studio that week every day for twelve hours on average, so realized my contribution was going to have to take place within the walls of Blackbird. So the song that started as a personal anthem got a rewrite that day.”

Rule 62’s “breakup” theme can be felt in songs like “Arizona” and “Time to Cry,” two fiery, merciless tunes that show Rose at the end of her rope with the manipulation and discrimination of women in the music business and beyond. “For reasons unbeknownst to me at the time, I started writing all these “breakup” songs that were mostly angry. I wasn’t sure where all these feelings were coming from until one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was penning these songs to society,” she observes. These sharp-tongued send-offs come with a good dose of humor, and the result is a reassuring sense that Rose isn’t letting anything grind her down.

Rose’s rising resilience underpins the message of “Better to My Baby,” a standout song that puts into practice the spirit and the letter of the album title. A tuneful take on moving on, the song is a measured spin on the traditional volatility of regret and jealousy that accompanies the end of a relationship. “Better To My Baby” also showcases Rose’s adept handling of ’60s pop conventions in its proud girl group nods: tinkling piano, buoyant harmonies and rueful romanticism.

Rule 62 is Rose’s second release of 2017, and sees the songwriter’s increased output matched by increased distinction. With so much touring now under the tires, it’s no surprise that Rose’s best work yet often explores her journeywoman’s experience. “Meet Me in Wyoming” and “Trucker’s Funeral” are emblematic of Rose’s clever study of the musician-as-trucker analogy. “Trucker’s Funeral,” a Dolly-caliber yarn with a stranger-than-fiction twist, is in fact a true story: “I had a meeting at Bank of America here in Austin last year and when the meeting was over the teller told me about going to his grandfather’s funeral here in Texas,” Rose recounts. “He found out he had a full second family on the West Coast. His grandfather was a trucker and always on the road, so neither family had any idea. As he was telling me this story, I was jotting down lyrics on my banking papers because it was just too intriguing an experience not be made into a song.”

Rule 62 boasts the first-class musicianship and studio instincts of collaborator and producer Raul Malo. The comfort and familiarity between the two made for a seamless return to the studio, this time with the added ear of Niko Bolas as co-producer. “Niko brought a lot to the table in the studio (when he wasn't sitting at his table at Waffle House). It allowed Raul to step down from the producer role from time to time and be a part of the band. That man can play and sing. One of my favorite parts of the album is the guitar solo on ‘You Never Cross My Mind’ — that's all Raul,” Rose observes appreciatively. Other musicians in the studio included Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) on drums, Jay Weaver (Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, The Mavericks) on bass; Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow) on piano; Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart) on steel; Aaron Till (Asleep at the Wheel) on the fiddle; and Kenny Vaughn (Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams) on lead guitar. Rule 62. Don’t Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously. It’s the only rule that Whitney Rose needs to keep going.

Nena Anderson

"Distinct as late career Joni Mitchell, strong as Emmylou Harris, warm as Mary Chapin Carpenter all rolled into one: an original is born.” Nena Anderson’s voice is velvet, a rich contralto, soulful and intimate to soaring, light-hearted and fun. Whether solo or with one of her backing bands, she is a seasoned live performer. With accessible and deceptively uncomplicated lyrics and a bluesy, Americana sound, Nena’s songs proves she can write timeless music for a modern audience. Performing in San Diego and touring nationally with various ensembles, her projects have earned 17 San Diego Music Award nominations (and a win), in the categories of Americana, Acoustic, Jazz, and New Artist.

Currently Nena fronts her solo band (Nena Anderson) as well as acclaimed honky-tonk band, Brawley. She is also a member of the collaborative album/concert project, For The Sender, and has toured with Johnny Cash Tribute, Cash’d Out, as June Carter Cash. She also produces an Americana night several times a year at Belly Up Tavern (Brawley’s BarRoom Ball,) and has shared stages with such artists as Lucinda Williams, Gregg Allman, and Dan Hicks. Nena plays Gretsch Guitars.

She could sing a buzzard off a Slop Wagon,” said Mojo Nixon of Sara Petite. Winner of the 2012 prestigious Chris Austin songwriting contest at Merlefest, the San Diego artist is releasing her fourth album August 1st. The Circus Comes To Town was written before and after the death of her partner Johnny Kuhlken.
“It’s a full perspective of the human being - jealousy, infidelity, fun, wit, tragedy, pain, loss, perseverance, substance abuse, shame, guilt and just plain silliness.”

As written by Sara:
This album came on the heels of my best friend and partner Johnny Kuhlken suddenly passing away in 2011. Some material was already written for the album, and some of it was written after he passed away. Making this album was a way to keep me going, trying to find light in a dark world, as I cursed the sun every morning it was shining in my window.

My friend and producer of my past album Doghouse Rose, Eddie Gore, wanted to get me in the studio right away. I think it was his way of helping me out of some of the pain I was going through. David Ro Rorick helped pull the musicians together. We also asked his friend Rick Lonow to play on it, and found out that both of them had played together on June Carters’ last two albums – who is a favorite of mine. Bob Britt played guitar and Eddie’s cousin, Ethan Ballinger, did acoustic and mandolin. There were many songs to choose from and a lot of them tended to be so very sad - we recorder 15 and whittled it down 11. Even though the last two years I had gone through most of my waking hours with a heavy heart, I didn’t want this album to be maudlin.

There is beauty and experience in tragedy. Some of the most hilarious moments and enlightening moments of my life have come even after Johnny passed away.

One of the most amazing experiences I have found is how many people share tragedy. People at my shows would thank me for playing some of the saddest songs that were at times difficult for me to get through. I started really just playing for myself after Johnny passed away, and found that that was the best thing I could do. It was a cathartic experience for me and it was wonderful to know people were touched, healed a little and moved by songs such as “Circus Comes to Town,” “Forever Blue” and “Drinking to Remember.”

Perfume is about a woman that knows her husband is running around on her, she can smell the woman’s perfume on him. “I don’t know what it is she does for you, I don’t know what it was that I didn’t do.” It is the uncontrollable feeling that someone is hurting you and you can’t do anything about it, and what did you do to make them turn to another. What is it that she doesn’t have. I think this feeling can make people do crazy things. All is fair in love and war. I have experienced love in so many ways, hurt people and have had them hurt me.

Movin On is about traveling and being on the road and missing home and the comforts. Missing my Papa Bear. I was asked to write something for a commercial with the subplot of a basketball team being on the road. At the time I was on my second tour of Europe in a month and was road weary. My mother loves elephants and I had to put them in one of my songs just for her “I’m leaving in the morning, I’m leaving on a train; by train, by bus, by elephant, by car, by airplane, I’m movin on, I’m traveling on.”

Barbwire is about intimacy. “She got barbwire around her heart, to protect them weaker parts. Don’t get too close cause it’s razor sharp, she’s got barbwire around her heart.” I wrote this song with my good friend John Eddie and he said wow, this is a mean woman. I felt like there was a place for me in that song. The first time I played it live I remember one of my girlfriends said she felt the same way. Two male friends of mine were discussing it, and discussing ex wives and being so hurt that they really felt the same way. It is really hard to give yourself to someone and be intimate, because we have so many protective layers that keep us away from the people we love.

Circus Comes to Town. The title track, I was on two really great tours, opening for one of my heroes, at the same time I was going through a major depression and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I should be really happy, and every night I had to get on stage and perform and smile and I really just wanted to roll up into fetal position and cry. I couldn’t believe the response this song has received, a lot people suffer from depression. It isn’t something you can ignore and suppress, because it just gets worse. I have never experienced anxiety until after Johnny passed away and it can be really debilitating.

Drinking to Remember. “I’m burning up your photographs, but there’s still pictures in my hear, I ain’t drinking to remember, I’m drinking to forget.” I drank and drank after Johnny passed away. I didn’t want to take anti-anxiety medicine, I felt like I knew what I was doing when I was drinking, but I probably didn’t. It was a delicate balance. Sometimes I needed a drink just to get somewhere or out of the house because the anxiety and pain was so horrendous, but if I drank to much I might start crying. I didn’t have a choice to have to start functioning as if nothing happened after he passed away. This is how I coped, but sometimes it wouldn’t work and I would call my mom screaming in tears and pain at three in the morning. She didn’t know what to do for me, she just listened. “My heart keeps saying that your coming back, the answers no, I keep praying that your coming back, I just can’t let go.” For some reason even now, even though I knew he was gone, my human body could not accept it and it really felt for a long time like I was missing my left arm.

The Master. “He’s a fast one, he can pull his boots on quick and break into a run, he’s dogded bullets, he’s dodged trains, husbands, lovers, hurricanes, that lyin’ cheatin’ son of a name, The Master.” This came from a story about a friend of mine that was a womanizer that almost got shot by a woman. I thought men would think I was a man hater with this song, but a lot of them laugh and in their minds would love to be the Master.

If Mama Ain’t Happy (Ain’t Nobody Happy). “When rooster starts thinking that he’s ruling the roost, hanging round his neck mama’s lowered the noose, he keeps yapping and a squawking and a flapping his wings, the tighter the news boys, the higher you sing!” This little diddy about hens and roosters is one of the most fun songs I have ever written. Women and men will always be bickering and moaning until the end of time. And this is the perfect answer and solution. I always tell men the sooner they learn the happier they will be, If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Forever Blue. When someone passes away quickly and tragically there is no time to say goodbye and sorry for short comings, no time to handle things that need to be handled, and most importantly through all of your mistakes and human errors, no time to tell someone how much you loved them. “What I’d give for one more hour, one more day, lay the truth on the table we let love slip away, baby ONE MORE DAY WITH YOU! Forever blue, Forever blue.”

Scarlet Letter. She wore a Scarlet letter, Scarlet letter on her chest, she wore a Scarlet letter from the one that she loves the best.” In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book Hester Prim wore the Scarlet Letter for having sex out of wedlock. Scarlet Letter is about the shame and guilt we put on others and ourselves. We all have skeletons, some are very noticeable, it’s like they fell out of people’s purses or pockets when they are walking by. Sometimes the most dangerous ones are the ones that are buried deep under lock and key. This song is a reminder about the finger you’re pointing, there is a finger pointing back at you. “It don’t matter about your sins, it just matters about his sins, it’s a way to hide your skeletons and I know that you got skeletons.”

Someday I’m Gonna Fly. “You like to tell me, I’m no good, never done the things that you think I should, but I know now I am good.” People grow up in dysfunctional families and have things happen to them - that make them feel like they aren’t good. I witnessed an adult male belittle his son and it hit something in me that made me so sad, because I knew that feeling and it took me back to situations in my life where I had been in the same position. This is a song of hope. Myself and other friends have struggled our entire lives trying to feel like we are good and we are worthy. There is always hope that moves us forward.

Ashes. I had the chance in my life to meet and have a relationship with a person that brought so much light and happiness to his life. He needed more in his own and that was really difficult to know when he passed away how much pain and tragedy he had endured. “Don’t suffer for my sorrow my pain and my regret, I leave this world a free man where burden was my debt.” Yet somehow, his hope was unfathomable with everything he had been through. I think of this more of a revival than a sad song. I really truly believe that he helped me write it after his passing, it was exactly what he would’ve wanted to say to his loved ones. “When this world comes to claim you, I hope they bring you back to me, until then live life to it’s fullest, if not for you do it for me...”

Petite will be touring to accompany the album release (if we already have dates we can put them here).

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