New Rose - Crying Eyes - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

New Rose - Crying Eyes

by Mark Moody Rating:8 Release Date:2018-11-09
New Rose - Crying Eyes
New Rose - Crying Eyes

Lou Reed’s ‘Train Round the Bend’ was pretty well chugging along and getting his ass out of the country landscape once and for all.  Whereas New Rose leader, Daniel Wagner finds himself down on all fours blowing on the last few embers not knowing if the dying locomotive of ‘Weeping Willow’ will even come close to the next station.  He sings of a “southern landscape with a northern breeze” which sums things up pretty succinctly on one of the strongest tracks on the New York band’s second long player Crying Eyes.  Stranded somewhere between Kevin Morby’s voice (Reed’s latter-day equivalent) and Gram Parsons’ sensibilities is hardly a bad place to find yourself and Wagner wears it well.  

Decidedly more on Parsons’ steel guitar leaning side of the equation, Wagner and his band string together a collection of varied tempos and moods that keep the fires burning over the course of the album.  Not sure how he pulled the proverbial strings, but Wagner somehow managed to get both Al Perkins (who played on Exile on Mainstreet) and legendary session man Dan Dugmore (Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Sturgill Simpson) on steel guitar throughout the album.  Where Perkins plays it straight on the dreamy country shuffle of opener ‘Plenty of Flowers’, Dugmore gets a bit spacier on ‘Get Paid’ and fills in some serious foggy backwoods dread on the aptly titled ‘Middle of the Night’. 

Dugmore, however, gets his traditionalist turn on one of the album’s highlights and centerpiece, ‘Tears Fall Down Like Diamonds’.  But it’s here and on many other tracks that New Rose taps into the vein that can forever be mined.  The blending of Wagner’s voice with partner June West’s elevates the song to the purest of a tear in your beer country weepers.  And to up the ante, vocalist Anna Fox and June alternate spots across the album to bear out its strongest of tracks.  Both appear on the gently propelled ‘Sun Child’ that assures us that everything is gonna be alright, as well as ‘Plenty of Flowers’.  Whether it’s Gram and Emmylou; Adams and Cary; A.P. and Maybelle Carter; or as current as Sharp and Keith of Gun Outfit the blend of a man and woman singing in front of some mix of steel guitar, piano and fiddle is effectively foolproof.  New Rose proves it out here.  Whether you want to call it standing on the shoulders of giants or as someone recently recalled, turtles all the way down, it is a surefire formula to bring out the best in this genre and Wagner understands that exceedingly well.

So as to not get too sentimental, the late night blaze of ‘Still Want You’ with lead guitarist Malcolm Donaldson has the candles burning brightly.  But the closing rhythmic drive of the Velvets/Allman Brothers melange of ‘Light on the Highway’ really tells it all.  Wagner longs for the thought that “someday we’ll be surrounded by trees” where Reed admits he’s sick of the same.  It’s no matter ya’ll.  Wagner checks all the right boxes over the course of Crying Eyes, and the shoulders he stands on give New Rose solid footing to move forward.  Wagner is the real deal.



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