On Sunday evening I headed into London to see Whitney Rose play at the Lexington in association with the Green Note. It was a gig I very nearly didn’t make – a combination of London traffic and a police car blocking my route to the station made it a stressful journey in and I nearly gave up at one point, but I’m so glad I persevered.
I hadn’t intended to write a review either, I was simply going as a fan, but I now feel the need to put down in words just how good the gig was.
Whitney’s band appeared at around 9pm and I’d like to start by giving a massive shout to the band itself. They were fantastic all night – this wasn’t a solo artist playing with a band (as you do find sometimes on the scene), this was a band headed by an amazing artist. The excellent lead guitarist deserves a special mention, while the bass player, the drummer and the backing vocalist/guitarist were excellent too.
Now let’s talk about Whitney herself. Personally, I’d heard some of her music and taken an immediate like to it, but struggles for time meant that it was limited to just a few songs. Some serious cramming over the weekend of ‘Rule 62’, ‘South Texas Suite’ and ‘Heartbreaker of the Year’ meant I was fully up to speed and completely won over. But you never know how good an artist is until you see them live, so I was hoping she would live up to my expectation.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that Whitney is indeed the real deal. In listening to Whitney Rose’s music, you have a feeling of nostalgia – her music has a timeless quality, and hearing those songs live is an experience in itself – although that isn’t to say any of her songs are dated, anything but in fact. This is just pure country music as Whitney Rose sees it.
Whitney Rose isn’t an artist who talks a lot on stage, but what she does say is to the point, which I like. My highlight comment (which I shared on social media) was ‘That was a song I wrote about an asshole. This is a song about a different asshole’ – perfect.
The set was spot on. Most of the set was from the albums/E.P. listed above with highlight tracks for me being ‘Can’t Stop Shakin”, ‘The Devil Borrowed My Boots’ and the outstanding ‘Trucker’s Funeral’. Within the set were a small handful of great covers – including brilliant versions of ‘Suspicious Minds’ and ‘Harper Valley P.T.A’, while her cover of ‘You Don’t Own Me’ had me mouthing the words ‘Wow, Wow, Wow’ to fellow Belles and Gals team member Lesley Hastings – I have goosebumps even thinking about it now. Mentioning individual songs doesn’t really do the gig any justice however, as the gig was simply an hour and a half of completely absorbing music.
I started Belles and Gals just over two years ago after being inspired by a game changing gig for me. If I hadn’t started the site then, I would have started it after Sunday night. Just brilliant.
Review written by Nick Cantwell (twitter.com/nickbelles_gals)