In her new music video and accompanying single “Luxury” (from the EP Sprout, released last year), Stephanie Rose shows us another side of her easygoing, pastoral personality that is perhaps the most intriguing and attractive yet. The video isn’t a big budget affair by any stretch of your imagination – it’s simply Rose and a man collecting wood in a patch of Canadian forestry, supplying their cabin with heat and warmth on the snowiest of days. Symbolically, she touches on the deeper narrative within the song without ever employing trite metaphorical imagery or nonsensical subplots. Stephanie Rose is doing what she does best in this video and the EP it was cut from – she’s being herself.
Sprout as an extended play is, put simply, a tour de force from start to finish, covering a lot of stylistic ground within six short, pop-leaning songs. We start off with the title track and ease our way into the muted blues of “Rusted Love.” “Luxury” serves as a stylish linchpin between the first and second halves of the record, which contrast aesthetically but still somehow manage to cohesively stand together as a singular work of art. There are many twists and turns to the lyrical content, but it’s all held together by a gripping tonality that, personally, I can’t get enough of.
Rhythm is the star of the show in songs like “Crushed” and the rollicking “Luxury,” but I don’t know that the same formula was used in composing “Old Soul” and “Same Old Same Old.” In these two tracks, Rose defiantly pushes against the tempos with an understated approach to her lyrics that would, at least on paper, conflict with the compositional makeup of the material. When we get down to it, the finished product is anything but a mess – in fact, the against-the-grain texture within the vocal track as it relates to the rest of the music makes for quite a provocative addition to the EP as a whole.
Stephanie Rose clearly has what it takes to put out a full length album, and she demonstrates just how directive and immensely agile she can be in all of the songs we find here. There’s no filler to be skipped over, no watered down portion of a song that we end up wishing she would have simply cut out of the master mix. Her commanding presence fills the black and white structures of “Rusted Love,” the title track and “Crushed” with an intrepid opulence that is hard to generate in any genre of music, let alone country.
I would expect nothing but the best from this up and coming singer/songwriter moving ahead towards the future. Stephanie Rose has got talent beyond her years, and it’s nicely exploited in these six songs that each provide us with another element from within her stately sonic profile. I’ve been keeping an eye on her for a while now, and I must say thatSprout is her sharpest release to date. If you haven’t already given it a spin or seen the video for “Luxury,” I’d highly recommend doing both as soon as possible.