Roses & Cigarettes
Echoes and Silence
Passion Ain’t No Ordinary Word For These LA Rockers.
As per my usual way; I had played this album a couple of times before bothering to read the accompanying Press Release; and that’s quite fortuitous as I’d more than made up my mind about the songs before reading the ‘back story’ of LA musicians Jenny Pagliaro and Angela Petrilli, who take their ‘Band Name’ from a Ray LaMontagne song.
Basically I liked the album cover and was vaguely aware these girls were ‘Rockers’ of the West Coast variety; and within 30 seconds of hearing Fast As I Can in the car on a sun soaked Wintry afternoon I knew I was in for a treat. Tightly wrapped guitars, punchy drumming, a diesel powered bass and a singer who could charm the birds from the trees……. what’s not to like?
As is the way with West Coast Rock; there’s a few very personal ‘Power Ballads’ like Bye Bye Blackbird and Back To You interspersed between some good ‘ole foot on the accelerator Driving Music.
Roses and Cigarettes manage to slip and slide between both genres with consummate ease, and it has to be said when I heard Feel The Fire and California Going Home, that afternoon and again today ………CLASS too.
It would be all too easy to say Roses & Cigarettes sound a bit like Whitney Rose or the Bangles (they do); but for us of an older generation there’s a lot more of Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge in here too…….. listen to the title track Echoes and Silence and you too will be taken back to a time when curly hair and stonewashed jeans were de riguer for a man about town, like yours truly!
Not that these songs sound ‘dated’ in the slightest; no, no and thrice no! Pagliaro and Petrilli can write a song that’s simply timeless but with 21st Century Roots-Rocking ‘bite’ to the lyrics and perfect for playing either in the car, or late at night when you are wooing or being wooed.
Tucked away in the middle is a cracker of a duet with ‘Guest Star’ Marc Broussard; Stranded……… it’s the type of song that you’d expect to close the CMA’s or Americana Awards and not leave a dry eye in the house.
Two particular songs really show Roses and Cigarettes special talents, yet come from opposite ends of the Soft Rock spectrum; the gorgeous tearjerker of a ballad Love Song and the atmospherically windswept Whispers in the Wind (Stacie’s song) which closes the disc, are both very special indeed.
There’s no better reason for buying this album other than it’s a damn fine bunch of songs that will appeal to every generation of guitar based Country Rock/Soft Rock.
Or is there?
*Here’s the ‘kick in the teeth’ that I discovered from the Press Release.
After getting some pretty good major league support slots following their 2015 album release singer Jenny Pagliaro was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer; but following intensive treatment and a battling personality she ‘beat it’……….only for it to come back even more violently while recording these songs ……….. and she is now in hospital with Stage IV of the same bastard of an illness.
Released February 22nd 2019