Album Review: Caroline Rose – I Will Not Be Afraid




I Will Not Be Afraid is Caroline Rose’s debut album on Little Hi/Thirty Tigers. Written and arranged by 24 year-old Rose, co-produced with multi-instrumentalist Jer Coons, and Pat Melvin on bass.

Rose thumbs a ride, American Pie fashion, wearing a coat borrowed from James Dean, and sings fiery blues on eleven rollin’ stones. Helter skelter we go from the fast lane, with the wandering Blood On Your Bootheels – it really is a demon swinger under Satan’s spell. Next up, Tightrope Walker, lyrics dark- coated in Mississippi mud.

When You Go is angelic innocence, a dance real slow. Let Me In is ramblin’ riffs and spinning guitars. At Midnight is slurred confessional; maybe after drinkin’ too much whiskey and rye? Redemption (for last night?) is not far away though, as America Religious turns water into the right kind of wine, and church bells, rather than bread, are broken. The holy trinity assisted by Ben Lively (violin) and Ed Grasmeyer (upright bass).

Track 7,  Red Bikini Waltz,  is Dylan-esque and clocks in under 2 minutes, so short in fact, one feels cheated at this half-time air, but it does the trick, creating a feeling of loss – lost time and lost opportunity. Time Spent, Money Grow! is bikini-busting, bra-busting, feminist liberating. Poets dream on Shepherd… something touched me deep inside. We then head Back East, beautiful, sweet perfume from a pink carnation, and so to the tail-light, I Will Not Be Afraid, which suggests that Rose’s journey is far from over.

To quote from Robert Plant’s ’83 Road Song: “ There is no turning back – on the run”.
I Will Not Be Afraid is five star petrol. A Big Log of a record.

Mark Watkins