Last Man Standing
Exceptionally Mature and Inspiring Americana From the East Coast of Olde Scotia.
The old cliche ‘the second album is always the hardest‘ doesn’t appear to apply here. I loved Roseanne Reid’s debut album TRAILS; which erred on the side of her Folk upbringing; but hinted at Americana and even Alt. Country leanings across quite a few songs; but here?
Today, I defy anyone in a ‘blind tasting exercise’ to tell me that this young lady doesn’t come from the Mid-West of Americae instead of the East Coast of Scotland; not that her voice is ‘effected’;’ in any way; it is 100% natural, but the arrangements and instrumentation throughout LAWSIDE are targeting a much bigger audience than the Folk Clubs ever can.
It’s not often I get ‘blown away’ by an opening song that I already know; but all preconceptions were thrown right out of the RMHQ window when I first heard All I Need.
Roseanne’s beautiful, yet melancholic voice simply aches throughout the full heartbreaking four minutes of a cleverly written song.
For only a second album, the songwriting here is exceptionally mature and the inspiration for the songs come from some very interesting places; not least Shine On, which sounds incredibly personal with the singer grieving for a lost loved one; and then the notes tell us that it was written for and about the suicide of TV personality *Caroline Flack; a death that caused us all to question the tabloid press and Social Media (for 5 minutes it appears) …. but I feel many people will find solace in Roseanne’s words too.
I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets by saying the extraordinary Made Just For You is about her baby son and the feelings a new parent has at this time in their lives.
Plenty of other songs here have backstories too; but at the same time we all interpret songs in our own personal ways; which is why Daisy Chain, All My Days and especially the rambunctious Call It Love will appeal to you and I both; but most likely for totally different reasons to the woman who wrote them from her own experiences.
After the success of her debut album Roseanne was on the cusp of something special; just as Covid and the associated lockdowns put everything on hold; but she used that time wisely; not just creating her son, but fleshing out the songs she was writing for the follow up …. and the results (at least in the case of the songs) are better than could have been hoped for had she been rushed into the studio.
The arrangements on Mona Lisa and Till Kingdom Come, especially are deceptively simple, with a production that allows Roseanne’s words and tunes the space to breathe and linger in the air for a long time after the song has ended.
As I said at the beginning all of my preconceptions were quickly out the window in Track #1 and that follows through all 13 songs; with a couple being very, very special indeed, which is why I’m currently calling a Tie for Favourite Song.
Couldn’t Wish More For You uses a simple singer-songwriter love song template for what goes on to be a complex story of Joni Mitchell proportions as a cello joins Reid’s gentle rolling acoustic guitar playing that will bring a lump to your throat.
The other, What Constitutes a Sin? Is one of those handful of songs that genuinely stops you in your tracks and sounds horribly personal.
Maybe it is about her own life, maybe not, perhaps it’s completely made up …. but … phew, the way Reid uses her velvet tinged vocals to tell this desperately emotional story could be a game changer for her … especially across the Atlantic.
Personally I love the Americana instrumentation and flavoured production, and I can’t wait to see and hear Roseanne play these songs alongside a similarly assembled band
Even playing LAWSIDE the very first time, I knew it was going straight into my Top 10 albums of 2023 …. and it’s certainly the next step on what promises to be a star studded path to glory.
Released June 2nd 2023
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