March sped by and we even though missed the bulk of the SXSW craziness between traveling and (real, bill-paying) work, we have hardly had time to listen to the submissions from our friends at ReviewShine. When the month started, we had downloaded a bunch of records but only one caught our ear this month and that one ended up in continuous rotation on the alt512 iPhone. The record we're pumping this month is Sara Petite's Doghouse Rose.
Sara Petite's voice is classic country. The songs themselves, all written by Petite except for one co-write and a Harlan Howard cover, remind us of the best of the best stuff that Chip Taylor wrote for his collaborations with Carrie Rodriguez a few years back. But it's more than that. The songs themselves run the gamut from bluegrass ("Bootleggers") to singer/songwriter ("Souvenirs", not the Prine/Goodman song) to straight country/honky-tonk ("Doghouse Rose", "Baby Let Me In") and even a little pop.
"Crazy" embodies the element of Doghouse Rose that we identify with most: honesty. We find all too often that artists tend to veil emotion or action at the risk of offending god-knows-who or in the interest of art or poetry (not that there's anything wrong with that). We kinda like things frank sometimes and Sara Petite delivers on the bad-decison-making-romp of "Crazy":
We made love in the church, we made love on the bar
The hotel, the motel, the love in the car
And we were crazy, oh so crazy
He had me swinging from the tables to the chandeliers
And whiskey was a-grinnin' from ear to ear
After the first few listens something really struck us: that this sounded like a Nashville record. Of course, we're not the biggest Nashville fans but what we came to find after a few more listens was that these songs, the things that can make or break a record before it's even recorded, were SPECTACULAR, regardless of the arrangement and Nashville-y production. Like the Tim Harwill record we latched onto back in January, we're definitely going to be buying the rest of the Sara Petite catalog as soon as humanly or digitally possible.
Between this and Harwill's The Wander Man Revisited, we have our early front-runners for the album of the year. [Yeah, I know Doghouse Rose was released in 2009 but I didn't get a heads up about it until this year, so there you go.]
We cannot recommend this record strongly enough.