New Release: Esther Rose – Songs Remain

Photo Credit: Akasha Rabut

Esther Rose has released “Songs Remain”, the fourth track taken from her upcoming album How Many Times. The new record will be released on 26th March via Full Time Hobby.

Recorded at home in three takes on a hot day in June, with Ric Roberston (acoustic guitar) arriving via skateboard, Rose says, “I had to write and live a lot of bitter, jealous, messy songs to get to this.” Like all things on this album, its placement is intentional. “I sequenced it towards the middle of the record so it feels like a peaceful valley, a resting place,” she added.

Esther Rose’s homespun brand of country music has drawn comparisons to legends like Hank Williams, modern trailblazers like Rilo Kiley, and a host of other luminaries in between, but those who are doing the comparing always make note: she’s got her own thing going on. Recently Rose laughingly told Holler that not being “Country enough for country,” is how she found that her sound is “in this really special pocket.” Rose’s innate ability to reflect on her own feelings, to not cast blame, and to keep a smile while doing so brings a spark to her music that sets it apart from her contemporaries and influences alike.

To Rose, How Many Times, written over the course of two years—including three moves, the end of a relationship, and countless tour dates—is an album symbolizing an awakening. She says, “It’s not really just about feeling better, it’s about feeling it, whatever it is.” While some may look outward and lament over hard times and bad luck, Rose turns inward. Instead of blaming an ex for failing to juggle her reactions on “My Bad Mood,” she examines her own blind spots where she hopes to improve as a partner. When her car’s engine blew up during an impulsive “pitstop” in Nashville, she wrote “Good Time” not to rue misfortune, but to toast her own recklessness. After losing her nerve and fleeing a New Year’s Eve date by bicycle half an hour before midnight, she immediately penned “Are You Out There,” confronting her fear of letting go and moving on. “I don’t grapple with fate,” says Rose. “I accept my bad luck and my good luck equally.”

With the integrity of Dean Johnson, Faustina Masigat, and Kiki Cavazos serving as primary influences, Rose expands her alt-country sound into a blossoming world of folk pop, rustic americana, and tender harmonies. “They’re the holy trinity of songwriter magic,” she says, “and when I listen to them I feel like I can explore my own heartache.” Creative touches add detail throughout the album. Rose uses a 1962 Gibson ES-120T, her first semi-hollow body electric guitar, to play unplugged for a distinct tone. On “Mountaintop,” she includes a blustery voice memo recorded at the summit of Mount Philo, an homage to the field recording in a Bright Eyes song she holds dear. From “Coyote Creek” to “Without You,” Rose’s compelling voice is ferried masterfully by the musicians that join her: Matt Bell on lap steel, Max Bien Kahn on electric guitar, Dan Cutler on upright bass, Cameron Snyder on drums, and Lyle Werner on fiddle. A collection of complete takes reorded live to tape with rich instrumentation, soul-tugging hooks, and resonating vocal melodies, How Many Times carries you into the room in which it was made. There to help realize this was co-producer Ross Farbe of synthpop band Video Age, who Rose also credits for bringing a stereo pop glow to these new songs.

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