Caroline Rose

104.7 The Point welcomes

Caroline Rose

Henry Jamison

Sat, Apr 07, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Showcase Lounge

$12 advance | $15 day of show

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This event is all ages

Caroline Rose
Caroline Rose
An obsession with money, a lover sleeping with someone else, a friend accidentally getting pregnant, misogyny, loneliness, death…This is just some of the lighthearted subject matter that make up LONER ––the whimsical, darkly comedic second album from songwriter/producer Caroline Rose. Armed with an arsenal of new instruments and equipment, an ever-growing sense of “ahhh fuck it”, two years of exploration, and a wicked sense of humor, Rose delivers a set of serious songs wrapped in a sprightly, angsty pop burrito. Because, as Rose puts it, “Sometimes sad songs just need a cocktail.”

LONER captures the cheeky satire, comical musings, and often jarring mood swings––sometimes goofy, sometimes emotional––that make up much of Rose’s personality. “I call it Schizodrift ,” she says sipping on a martini with her pinky out. “I want to make music that sounds as manic as I feel.” Filled with catchy synth hooks, Doors-esque Farfisa, surfy guitar, punky attitude, and depth of thought, LONER captures the energy of bands like Le Tigre and The Cramps, the style of Blondie and DEVO, the artsy folk of Kate Bush and pop hooks of icons like Justin Timberlake. “I’d say this album was as much inspired by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears as it was late 70s punk.” How did she get here? According to Rose, the transition was natural.

LONER began about three years ago. “I was 24, lonely, and realizing life might actually be as hard as people said it was. Gandalf had yet to raise his staff and part the seas for me,” she says with a straight face. “I felt a bit disillusioned with my music; it didn’t sound like my personality. I hadn’t dated in years, I was going to lose health care…I felt detached from the modern world.” So what did she do about it? “I joined Tinder. I turned 25 and rented my first real apartment and painted it bright colors. I started socializing more and little by little, weeded out all my clothes that weren’t red. I embraced my queerdom. I had a girlfriend, we traveled the country, we broke up. I discussed politics, Capitalism and Rihanna. For better or worse, I became a member of the modern world. Turns out the modern world is terrifying,” she says attempting to pluck an olive out of her glass.

When it came to writing about all of it, what followed marked the beginning of a fully formed Caroline Rose. “ I needed to get more personal, more aggressive. more humorous and more sonically diverse than my older material,’ referring to 2014’s slinky indie-folk-rockabilly-tinged album I Will Not Be Afraid . The record was penned over four years ago while Rose was living in a van traveling the country, and received critical acclaim from national press outlets like NPR and Rolling Stone. LONER , however, marks a significant leap forward both sonically and emotionally, unleashing a burgeoning confidence teeming with character. Asked how she’d describe the transition, Rose responds, “It just felt like a bubble inside me that had been growing and was about to pop.” In a burst of creative energy, she penned and produced a slew of songs that began circulating among labels and press, resulting in a NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

Over the next year and a half, Rose tells me, “I got super into production and mixing––I was working 8 to 10 hours a day creating new sounds, finessing EQ, blending tones, sampling basically everything. Having an apartment [rather than living in a van] gave me the space to have more instruments than just a guitar. I started collecting synths and recording equipment and tracking my material. I signed with a label that gave me a lot of creative control and resources. I met with what feels like every producer under the sun.” After sessions and meetings with over a dozen producers, Rose chose to co-produce alongside Paul Butler (Devendra Banhart, Michael Kiwanuka, Hurray For The Riff Raff) at Panoramic Studio in Bolinas, California and the studios of Butler and Rose, respectively. A multi-instrumentalist and producer herself, Rose brought to the sessions pre-recorded work the two used as a foundation off which to build, having written and arranged strings, played and recorded keys, guitar and bass, sampled layers of found and recorded sounds, and programmed synths and drums. “The rest was a lot of experimentation in the studio, trying out different sounds and getting weird,” She adds. “Paul added a lot in that way, neither of us are afraid to try things and throw a bunch of sounds at the wall.”

Another thing that drove Rose to pursue production more seriously was the blatant lack of gender diversity in the music industry. “I noticed over the course of all these meetings there was not a single female or nonbinary producer. Then the more I read up on why, the more I realized there actually are a lot of us, we just aren’t taken as seriously and either don’t receive or don’t demand the credit that we deserve.” In response, Rose stepped up across the board, having a hand in mixing as well as directing creative control over all aesthetics regarding the album. “I wanted to make sure everything was as me as it could possibly be.”

The visuals and aesthetics of LONER, Rose adds, are an important vehicle in bringing out her personality, as well as a lot of the more sarcastic elements within the music. “I’ve gotten really interested in the visuals over the years, from producing videos and creatively crafting the images to how I express myself via what I wear.” The video for “Money”, for example, written and directed by Rose and Horatio Baltz, depicts Rose playing all of the parts––a sort of maniacal, Coen Brothers-meets-David Lynch two-minute story involving three people (perhaps the same person?) that leaves viewers asking…What just happened? Not too different a feeling after listening to LONER, in fact. And this, is precisely how Caroline Rose wants you to feel.
Henry Jamison
If you take a look through his family tree, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Henry Jamison was born to write songs. There’s his father, a classical composer, and his mother, an English professor, who both inspired and encouraged him directly, but if you continue tracing Jamison's lineage back even further, some interesting names start to turn up. Go back to the 1800's, for example, and you'll find "Battle Cry of Freedom" author George Frederick Root, the most popular songwriter of the Civil War era. Travel even further back in time, to 14th century England to be exact, and you'll find the poet John Gower, known to be a friend to both Chaucer and Richard II.

"There's definitely this bardic tradition in my family," reflects Jamison. "I don't know how much any of it means, but I was handed a set of skills growing up, and I had to learn how to develop them on my own."

With his stunning debut album, 'The Wilds,' Jamison is ready to share that development with the world and claim his place as the latest in a long line of remarkable storytellers. Blending delicate acoustic guitar and banjo with programmed percussion loops and synthesizers, the Vermont songwriter grapples with the jarring dissonances of contemporary life on the record as he struggles to reconcile the clashes between our inner and outer selves, the natural world and our fabricated society. Jamison writes with cinematic precision, conjuring vivid scenes and fully realized characters wrestling with existential crises and modern malaise. His dazzling way with words and keen ear for memorable hooks at once calls to mind the baroque pop of Sufjan Stevens and the unflinching emotional honesty of Frightened Rabbit, but the delivery is uniquely his own, understated yet devastating.

'The Wilds' comes on the heels of Jamison's 2016 breakout debut EP, 'The Rains.' Tracks from the collection racked up more than 20 million streams on Spotify, as his uniquely off-kilter brand of lyricism earned a swarm of critical acclaim. NPR's World Café featured Jamison in their breaking artist series, raving that his "descriptions of places ring true and his subtle production touches stand out," while Vice Noisey said his "mellow folk…soothes your nerves," and Consequence of Sound praised him as a "visual lyricist" writing music that "sounds like a dream taking form." The EP earned Jamison dates with Big Thief, Lady Lamb, and Tall Heights plus festival appearances and performances across Europe.

When it came time to record 'The Wilds,' Jamison picked up right where he left off with 'The Rains,' returning to the same unassuming, mountainside house in Goshen, VT, where he'd cut the EP. There, Jamison reunited with engineer/co-producer Ethan West, a veteran figure he likens to a musical midwife who helped him birth the songs. While Jamison's home in Burlington isn't exactly Times Square, working in Goshen felt like an opportunity to leave behind even the slightest traces of urbanity.

"The studio is about an hour and a half from where I live in Burlington, and you've got to drive a little dirt road halfway up a mountain to get there, so it always feels like a bit of a pilgrimage," says Jamison. "By the time I get to the studio, I feel like I've entered some slightly different zone. The property is covered in trees, and Ethan decided he was also going to start a maple sugaring and honey business, so we had to schedule our recording sessions around his maple sugaring season, which is the most Vermont problem you could have."

Jamison is a solitary artist who writes, records, and arranges everything himself, including all of the album's string arrangements, and 'The Wilds' is a pure reflection of the world through his eyes. The record opens with an ethereal vocal movement that gives way to "Bright & Future," a short, spare, richly visual song that sets the stage for a record driven by philosophical and psychological musings. On the title track and "Through A Glass," Jamison comes to a Walt Whitman-esque understanding of the multitudes contained within each of us, while "Sunlit Juice" and "Dallas Love Field" use extended metaphors to examine what happens when we try to impose our outer will on our inner lives (it usually doesn't end well), and "The Jacket" searches for authentic connection in a synthetic landscape.

"Sometimes it feels like you're just moving through this air conditioned world of artificial light and hard surfaces," says Jamison. "That song is about longing for human connection but feeling cut off from everything I'm trying to commune with. The air conditioning and fluorescence leads to this total loss of self."

The only hope we have for truly understanding ourselves and making peace with our psyches, according to 'The Wilds,' is to accept ourselves and each other for the complicated, conflicted, imperfect beings we are. On the abstract "Black Mountain" Jamison reaches the realization that by sacrificing his attachment to his sense of self, he can gain a greater appreciation for his place in the universe, the way a river running into the sea ceases to be, yet simultaneously becomes something grander than it had ever been before. On the gorgeous "Varsity," he comes to terms with the reality that things will never be as cut and dry as we'd like, singing, "I'm not what I appear to be/ I'm a little more confused, but also less so," while on the utterly charming "Real Peach," he seeks to bury the hatchet with the declaration that "if all is fair in love and war, then I don't know what we are we fighting for."

"If you're fighting with someone, you can really believe what you're saying, and they can really believe what they're saying, and so you sometimes have to look at the space around your disagreement and discover that you still want to be with that person," explains Jamison. "It made me think of this Rumi line which I adapted for the song, where he talks about being in the field beyond the right and wrong."

In Jamison's case, he may be on the mountainside above the right and wrong, in a basement studio where the outcome of any disagreement is less important than the revelations it produces. The truth of the matter, according to 'The Wilds,' is that truth itself is subjective and deeply personal, and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can move from conflict, both internal and external, to harmony. It's heady stuff he's writing, but as far as Henry Jamison is concerned, it's all part of growing up, which is why the album's final track, "No One Told Me," references Galleons Lap.

"That's the place where Christopher Robin leaves Winnie The Pooh and goes out into the world on his own," says Jamison. "In the song, it feels like I'm finally moving out of childhood and into adulthood."

In some ways it's an ending, and a bittersweet one at that, but in others, it's just the beginning of a brand new life. As Jamison waves goodbye to his past selves on 'The Wilds,' he welcomes into being new multitudes, each of them counting the days until sugaring season, patiently waiting for their chance to press record and document this latest branch of an extraordinary family tree.
Venue Information:
Showcase Lounge
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403