Whitney Rose – Rule 62
On new album Rule 62, Canadian singer and guitarist Whitney Rose furthers rock-influenced country music by applying her undeniable vocal talents to songs that celebrate the 1960s. The result is ten good songs and one great one that’ll disrupt some way-too-early year-end lists.
The album starts with “I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out),” a ripping and roaring honky tonk number that could back a round of chickenshit bingo. This isn’t a honky tonk album though, aside from the opening track and the more rocking “Time to Cry.” Rose dabbles in a broad range of retro sounds throughout, putting her in the same class as peers with vintage tastes and forward-thinking songs.
County music’s storied sense of place (“Arizona”) and weepy sentimentality (“You Never Cross My Mind”) are represented in spades. There’s also an equal helping of old-school rock ‘n’ roll (“Better to My Baby”) and countrified soul (“Can’t Stop Shakin’”), with both songs akin to what J.D. McPherson cooked up for his recent album.
Rose’s finest moment on an album without a dud is “Trucker’s Funeral.” As the title implies, the song touches on multiple country song tropes: truck drivers, hard living, and death. It’s not a list of buzzwords for the sake of matching some radio programmer’s quota. Instead, these topics pop up in a well-told story about a man whose double life takes center-stage at his funeral. Speaking as the trucker’s daughter, Rose recounts the darkly funny revelation that her father had secret families in different states. “At that trucker’s funeral, two women buried wedding rings,” Rose sings. “If you’re at a trucker’s funeral, be prepared for anything.”
It’s a solid album, start to finish. Yet it’s “Trucker’s Funeral” that stands out. Had Merle Haggard sung it back in the day, Rose’s opening acts would surely cover it in bars across North America.