“Be Many Gone” – Eileen Rose

4 stars (out of 5)

2

Be Many GoneThis made-in-Nashville, contemporary country album is full of sweet surprises, the sometimes quirky arrangements, the lyrics, the instruments…  It has different moods and tempos and Eileen Rose makes you want to listen to her latest offering, she speaks clearly to her audience, one to one.  She’s no newcomer either; a few albums in and plenty of touring and festivals to support them, this is an accomplished and confident sounding album.

She started writing at 14, trying to emulate her idol, Kate Bush, but was listening to an eclectic diet of music from Bowie to Linda Rondstadt.  Eileen Rose has both American and Irish heritage and her first gigs were around Boston when she was playing mainly folk music.  Since then she has also lived in urban Essex and gigged in London for a stint, when she also released two CDs for Rough Trade.  She has toured the UK and US with such reputable company as Ryan Adams and Beth Orton, before expanding her growing fan base to Europe.  There are many hints on this album, that there is more to her than country as the Jive-paced, “Just Ain’t So” prove and the sultry “She’s Yours”, with fiddle and brushed drums, a well placed accordion also lends a European touch to some tracks.

Be Many Gone” opens with a bouncy “Queen of the Fake Smile”, complete with lively fiddle.  The mood then shifts to a slower pace including the bittersweet, “She’s Yours” and stand-out “Prove Me Wrong”.  “Each Passing Hour” features Frank Black as a duet, which doesn’t work so well for me but sonically it rolls nicely with castanets and Mexican sounding trumpet.  Eileen Rose plays guitar and taught herself piano, but she also picks up other instruments (including bongos) and is just setting up her own label Holy Wreckords with her collaborator and producer, mixer and engineer of “Be Many Gone”, Rich Gilbert, so it appears that Eileen Rose is experiencing a period of enormous creative growth.

This is an emotionally wrought set of songs where she wears her heart visibly, but in no way is it depressing; Eileen Rose clearly also has a sense of humour, “I can be a good friend, I can be a joker, but you can choke me up now baby with a single glance”  (“Comfort Me”).  Not that she comes from the old Patsy Cline school of victim lyricism, she clearly empowers herself and shares this, while retaining a capacity for vulnerability and intimacy.  Vocally Eileen Rose has a country voice pitched somewhere between Kirsty MacColl and Lucinda Williams, while she doesn’t stretch her voice much on this album, the comfort in her voice contrasts nicely with the sometimes uncomfortable lyrics.  If you like country music with European and folky twists, this is definitely an album to check out.  Eileen Rose is currently considering playing dates in the UK and if past accolades are anything to go by, it will be a hot ticket!

“Be Many Gone” is out now on Holy Wreckords HWER12714.

Klare rated this album at 3.5 stars, but we can only rate in full stars, so this is 4 stars because I think it’s a great album as well (Ed.)