Caitlin Rose – CAZIMI (Pearl Tower Records / Missing Piece Records)
It took seven years for Caitlin Rose to follow up her sophomore effort, but CAZIMI, her latest, proves the time off – though not intentional – did little to blunt her creativity. Across a dozen tracks, Rose excises her influences from Graham Parson and Emmylou Harris to Linda Ronstadt, but with enough originality to avoid simply sounding like a tribute artist.
Rose describes those seven years away from the studio as a nightmare of false starts, but producer and friend Jordan Lehning finally got here into a Nashville studio. “It happened so fast that there was no time to worry about what could go wrong; all I walked in with was the excitement,” she said recently. Unfortunately, timing was probably the worst she could have picked in all those years off. First, tornadoes tore through Nashville, destroying parts of the city and shortly after the global pandemic shut down the world for another two years. But the forced break gave Rose time to sit with the songs and refine them a bit.
Timing wise – as society reflects on shared traumas, frustrations, and uncertainties – it seems fortuitous that CAZIMI is finally going out into the world now. Across the record, Rose sings about self-destruction, wanting what the characters know they shouldn’t have and grasping for comfort. On the opening track “Carried Away,” a beautiful prelude to the songs that follow, her ethereal vocals soar over soft acoustic guitars singing about getting caught up in the potential of love. The song is remarkably affecting. But the same can be said about many of the tracks that follow, like the mid-tempo “Lil’ Vesta,” about getting out of control and self-sabotaging. There is hardly a skippable song on the record. The collection closes on “Only Lies,” a brilliant song about being in a doomed relationship but with some of the best lines Rose has ever committed to tape.
Seven years is a long time for a musician to be out of the spotlight, but Rose is clearly making up for lost time on CAZIMI, turning in her strongest album yet. The timing certainly wasn’t of her choosing, but through serendipity, it seems like the perfect time for the world to finally hear it.