There are many useful rules to live by, but for Whitney Rose, there’s one that stands alone as a guiding principle for life as she knows it: Rule 62. The origin of the rule is best summed up by the poignant, pronoun-adjusted excerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Tradition Four cited above, a treatise on how to find harmony between ambition and self-awareness, and how to learn one’s lessons with humor and humility. This truism, officially worded as “Don’t Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously,” is the origin of both the title and ethos of Whitney Rose’s forthcoming album, Rule 62.
Rewind to January 2017. Six months ago, Rose was primed to release South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to Austin, Texas. (Rolling Stone noted that it “bristles with local flavor.”) Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force (and “country hair” disciple) packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks’ Raul Malo. In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas channeled the tumult, turbulence and tension outside of the studio into Rose’s sophomore worldwide release, which includes nine self-penned songs that are playful yet uncompromising, influenced by Nancy Sinatra, Bobbie Gentry and Françoise Hardy. Rule 62 finds Rose “breaking up with patriarchy,” a breakup evidenced by new songs that show verve, swagger and self-assurance in Rose’s instinctive sense of tone, broadened scope and attention to detail.
Consider “Can’t Stop Shakin’” in the context of the day it was recorded: January 20, 2017. With Malo on harmonies and rhythm guitars, Kenny Vaughn on lead guitar, and saxophones and organ in the mix, “Can’t Stop Shakin’” was originally written as an anti-anxiety treatment in Memphis soul dance party form. Against an ominous political backdrop, the song now reverberates with an undercurrent of uncertainty and anger that reframes the self-calming shimmy as an act of protest. “’Can’t Stop Shakin’ started out as something I would sing to calm myself down.” Rose says. “We recorded that song on Inauguration day and you could physically feel the divide between the public and the unrest in the air. I was in the studio that week every day for twelve hours on average, so realized my contribution was going to have to take place within the walls of Blackbird. So the song that started as a personal anthem got a rewrite that day.”
Rule 62. Don’t Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously. It’s the only rule that Whitney Rose needs to keep going.
RULE 62 TRACK LISTING:
1. I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out) (3:06)
2. Arizona (3:58)
3. Better to My Baby (3:13)
4. You Never Cross My Mind (4:02)
5. You Don’t Scare Me (4:14)
6. Can’t Stop Shakin’ (4:22)
7. Tied to the Wheel (4:41)
8. Trucker’s Funeral (5:04)
9. Wake Me in Wyoming (3:29)
10. You’re a Mess (3:48)
11. Time to Cry (3:56)
AUSTIN, TX: The Continental Club, Aug 10, 17, 24, 31
WINNIPEG, MB: Interstellar Rodeo, Aug 20
HOUSTON, TX: McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Sept 1
COLLEGE STATION, TX: Calvary Court, Sept 2
NEW BRAUNFELS, TX: Gruene Hall, Sept 10
NASHVILLE, TN: AmericanaFest, Sept 16
MIDLAND, TX: Lone Star Bar, Sept 22
SAN ANGELO, TX: House of Fifi Dubois, Sept 23
AUSTIN, TX: The White Horse, Sept 30
DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX: Mercer Street, Nov 17
AUSTIN, TX: The White Horse, Nov 25
More fall tour dates to come.