By Larry Stephens
The first time I listened I didn’t like it. Then I listened again. By the third time I was hooked. Not completely — the rockabilly number “Jungle Jaguar Pants” still doesn’t grab me, but I’ll bet a rockabilly fan will get into it. On the other hand, “This House Gets Lonesome” channels Santana or the Eagles and I can listen to this one a lot. I love the guitar lead from Chris Casello and the drum beat (John McTigue). Paul Niehaus adds some steel guitar that’s a perfect fit. This sounds like it came from my favorite years of rock. Another number right out of ’60s rock is “When the Sadness,” instruments on the afterbeat, the guitar sneaking in with licks here and there. Rose nails the era.
The title song is a tale of the woes of a band on the road (“The promoter took the cash box and split for Vegas”) and again the Casello/Niehaus partnership carries the vocals. If the credits didn’t tell us Rose composed all the songs you’d swear Hank Williams co–wrote “Tonight That Lover Ain’t Me” and brought Don Helms along to play steel guitar. He shifts to a shuffle beat with “Pretty World of Make-Believe.” Jimmie Johnson on bass nails the walking beat essential to shuffle–beat music.
Rose is a good singer no matter which genre he’s working in. As a writer he’s able to catch the styles as he switches genre, keeps the lyrics interesting and just occasionally drifts off to leave you wondering “what the …?”. Country, rock and rockabilly from the ’60s and ’70s are close cousins. If you like that music then you owe it to yourself to listen to Kent Rose. He’s a keeper.