Caitlin Rose - O2 ABC
Live Review

Caitlin Rose – O2 ABC, Glasgow

The bewitching Caitlin Rose brought her band to Glasgow as part of the No Mean City festival of Americana and played a set that left a large crowd marvelling at her vocal talents.

Support came from Foxface, otherwise known as Glasgow singer/ songwriter Michael Angus. Playing his first song solo he demonstrated a nice fingerpicking technique on the electric guitar and an expressive, almost folky, voice. He was then joined by another musician for Heartbreaker, adding repeated synth rhythms. With Angus’ deep repetitive vocals the sound was almost ambient.

Much of the set was played in similar fashion, with a snare drum added to the mix, giving rather dark and stark arrangements. For his final song Angus went solo once again and the upbeat Gloriously Outnumbered with its country style vocals was perhaps the pick of his performance.

Caitlin Rose started a fine set with Learning To Ride, one of seven songs played from her excellent debut album, Own Side Now. Backed by the sweet tone of the pedal steel guitar, Rose on acoustic guitar showed from the start what a fine voice she has. The Nashville twang is clear, but there are other influences at play in what is ultimately a beautifully simple vocal style. Her tones are clear and true and there is an ever-present undercurrent of power, ready to be unleashed.

Changing between electric and acoustic guitar, Caitlin raced through the opening portion of her set, enthralling the crowd with her lovely voice. Spare Me was tender, New York poignant and Coming Up quite beautiful, with gentle verses between the big choruses that showed the more expansive side to her vocals.

Standing centre stage between songs Caitlin at times showed her vulnerable side as she chatted with the crowd. With the excellence of her performance is it easy to forget that she is only 24 years old and at the start of what promises to be a glittering career. And when she starts to sing it is clear that she, quite rightly, has confidence in her own musical ability.

The uptempo Shanghai Cigarettes was a highlight as Caitlin delivered the song with an air of world weariness that belies her youth. This is a mature song that tells of heartbreak and despair using imagery that shows her abilities as a songwriter. And the big finish again gave a taste of the soaring beauty of that voice.

As always in her shows, Rose performed several covers. The first of these was Stevie Nicks’ That’s Alright, which Caitlin describes as one of the best country songs ever written. Young Blood, originally recorded by The Coasters back in the 50s was also played as a tribute to the great songwriter Jerry Leiber, who died last month.

It was then back to her debut album as Caitlin finished her set with Sinful Wishing Well, another tender song, her soft vocals rising to a crescendo for the big finish before the band left the stage. The large crowd demanded more and it wasn’t too long before they got their wish with an encore.

Two more covers closed the show: I Was Cruel from Nashville band The Deep Vibration, one which she had never played before, and Faithless Love, originally written by JD Souther for Linda Ronstadt. And young Ms Rose did full justice to both these songs, adding her own stamp to them with her perfect tone.

Caitlin Rose demonstrated with an hour of fine music that she is a talent to be reckoned with. Her voice is a finely tuned instrument that can be sweet and gentle but also powerful and expressive. She has the ability to become a big name in the music world and I look forward to following her career.

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