Album Review: Esther Rose – You Made It This Far

Esther Rose is an singer songwriter based in New Orleans, whose new album You Made it This Far is fantastic mix of Americana, old time music and classic country influenced by the likes of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Joni Mitchell.

The album begins with Always Changing, a slow shuffle about trying to understand the shifting emotions within relationships. No one ever stays the same, she concludes. Luckily for us the hallmarks of great country music never change either, and it’s nice to hear some sweet pedal steel.

The fiddle is the real star of this album, though, used to delightful effect on Handyman. Here she is looking for someone to fix her broken heart – it’s going to take some work sure but she’s worth it. Only Loving You is another dreamy romantic song which makes you want to dance that damn night away, like she does in the very cute video.

Rose’s raw sound and vocals often echo more alternative influences, like on Five Minute Drive which is a memory song about her teenage years and references Against Me, Minor Threat and Julie Ruin.

On the vintage waltz Sex and Magic she bewitches us with her seductive twang. The lovely Lower 9 Valentine is almost an ode to New Orleans itself and the music community she’s found there.

Her embrace of the country genre is not just the sound and style either. Three tells a story of her family and their farm and Rio en Medio takes us out into the countryside, where the river carries her troubles away.

The wistful title track You Made it This Far goes to some dark places and situations, ending with Rose offering kindly advice and empathy to those suffering.

She finishes on the stripped back acoustic Don’t Blame it On The Moon. We’re outside a bar on the street at 2am, overhearing a strained nighttime conflict between lovers. The listener too is like the moon – looking down and observing the heartache. Songs as good as these glow long into the night.

This album has been marketed and promoted to the indie blogs which is kind of interesting to me since most of these outlets don’t usually cover this kind of Americana/ altcountry music. This attention is a sign that her record label and publicist see potential to cross over into the alternative scene with this album. Margo Price and others have gone down this route, with great results and in fact Esther Rose has previously worked with Jack White.

In turn it would be great to see more Americana fans and blogs give this music a listen because Esther Rose’s You Made it This Far is a smart and fresh take on the genre.


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