Lucy Rose - Something's Changing

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:8 Release Date:2017-07-07

Admitting an affinity for Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, England’s Lucy Rose is a gifted artist with a voice that shows both her penchant for those aforementioned icons of folk music, but also for contemporary artists of similar sound (Colbie Caillat, Laura Marling, and Nina Nesbitt), demonstrating that the genre is alive and quite well.

Her third offering, Something’s Changing from Communion Records, is predictably carried along by her soothing and evocative vocals. The music that supports her voice is a mix of essential acoustic guitar and piano melodies, with flourishes of rhythm and blues and pop as well. On “Intro,” she sings, “Feeling it all; all the good, the bad, the happy, the sad,” before launching into a high wire act of vocal acrobatics, fearless against the Spartan, Eastern-sounding guitar plucking. It’s a jaw-dropping display of her talents.

What’s interesting about her latest, however, is that she wrote songs during a trip across Central and South America, a decision based on an outpouring of requests to play shows across those regions. Rose took the challenge and chronicled the tour (https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/author/lucyrose), a sojourn that gave her more songwriting courage as well as perspective on the role music plays in the lives of people for whom it’s more than “background music when you’re cooking.” Would that we could all experience such a valuable lesson in global understanding.

“Strangest of Ways” seems born of the experience, with Rose delivering some clever lines to describe some of the revelations the trip brought: “Let me live in the wild, tonight. Who’d have thought it? I could be your friend; I’ve never been mine. Who’d have thought it? This is the place for me and my bones.”

On “Is This Called Home,” she joins one of many guests to creative harmony gold. When they sing “let me hold your hand” it’s breathtaking. Ditto for their combined effort on “Floral Dresses.” Both are perfect pairings of her voice with The Staves, a sister trio who possess their own harmonic gifts. Both are tastefully understated and gorgeous.

Amidst the folk, there are some engaging up-tempo numbers as well that show she’s not limited to the coffeehouse circuit. “Soak It Up” has a smoky blues touch to it, and “No Good At All” had this old man’s memory harkening back to 80’s chanteuse Lisa Stansfield.

Her voice is elegant and beautiful, that much is obvious. But the depth of the songwriting and the maturity the Latin American trip engendered are evident throughout. “Moirai,” starting slow and solemn, hits a perfect piano and string enhanced chorus that borrows a bit from mid-00’s popsters Train, while closer “I Can’t Change it All,” all soaring strings and horns coupled with achingly sweet lyrics, is a rom-com away from well-deserved mass exposure. Rose has flirted with breakthrough success the last few years, with songs being used in varied commercial enterprises. This album could well push her over the top.

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