Check out praise for Helen Rose from around the world!
Note that reviews are printed in the local language, with select quotes translated here.
”This multi-talented performer wears her impeccable musical influences proudly on her sleeve as she unveils a debut album serving up a perfectly judged blend of blues rock and country soul.”
– Messenger, UK
“A strong debut album and someone I’ll be keeping an ear out for in the future.”
– Dancing About Architecture, UK
“Helen Rose has fully utilized her craft, skill, astuteness and inspiration to share a record rich in its construction and embodying the wide reaching template of Americana.”
– Three Chords and the Truth, UK
“A singer to follow.”
– Zeitgeist, France
“‘Trouble Holding Back’ introduces us to another female figure of the broad American roots panorama that deserves all the attention possible.”
– Lonestar Time, Italy
– Ilpopolodel Blues, Italy
“What a joy to be able to hear such a versatile talent at work.”
– Rootsville, Belgium
“A beautiful debut.”
– Written in Music, Netherlands
“A very nice debut. I am convinced that we will hear more from Helen Rose.”
– Barn Owl Blues, Netherlands
“Helen Rose excels equally as a performer and a songwriter on this record.”
– Gaesteliste.de, Germany
“She puts a lot of effort into composition and perfect instrumentation, and so the listener is rewarded with such extraordinary multi-layered and grooving songs as ‘A Dangerous Tender Man.’”
– Folker, Germany
“Helen Rose’s potential is huge…worth checking out.”
– Blues Matters, US
“This country-soul-blues belter of a debut studio album from Helen Rose is in a league of its own.”
– Shirefolk, Ireland
Trouble Holding Back
MONKEY ROOM MUSIC. CD/DL/LP
Country-blues debut from a laconic feminist.
Six-foot-one in her bare feet, Rose wrote this while working in New York’s ‘service industry’, but the kid from the Midwest plains lives in New Orleans now, and wide vistas and hard times wash through her debut like muddy water. She’s 25, but on Flatlands of North Dakota, narrated by a pole-dancer, brushed drums like hissing snakes and whining strings sit alongside a weary Bobbie Gentry growl. “I got a family of five/Raisin’ the girls on my own/Pickin’ up tips from a local rigger, tellin’ me I’m too old…” If that’s resilience, try When The Levee Breaks, whose Bessie Smith holler is Everywomen, just “keepin’ the water at bay.” Occasionally things get a bit trad – but closer Love On Arrival satisfyingly delivers a train pulling in, Rose’s own tenor sax, and enough spooky sexual tension to blow the bloody doors off.
Trouble Holding Back
There’s no denying that Helen Rose leans more towards blues than bluegrass. She has the lean, sultry voice and an edgy attitude that assures her independent spirit. All it takes is a listen to the razor-sharp riff of opening track Love and Whiskey, a song that recalls the old Bob Seger standard Come to Papa, or the deliberate defiance and well-paced finger snaps that delineate the pacing of the follow-up track, the descriptively titled Flatlands of North Dakota. She is, she insists, like her mother: “Got a family of five, raising the girls on my own, doing all she can to keep the lights on.”
Blues, like bluegrass, is an archival form of Americana, and the ties between the two are obvious in ways they relate to the Everyman, or in this case, the Everywoman. Rose’s hard-bitten style makes that connection clear, whether she’s unleashed a torrid wail on Memphis Minnie’s When the Levee Breaks or delivering with due diligence the solid stomp of John Coltrane on the Jukebox, a song that takes a dig at modern mores. To her credit, Rose allows her impassioned vocals to shine at the fore; the arrangements are modest in most cases, stripped back to basics, all in the interest of conveying authenticity. Indeed, Rose’s music suggests a sound that’s of a decidedly vintage variety. Whether conjuring up the swampy realms of the bayou on the slinky Mississippi Moon or reveling in the glory of The Mountain, she shows she’s capable of recreating an aura and imagery in ways that serve tradition as well as tenacity.
Consequently, Trouble Holding Back, Rose’s remarkable studio debut (a previous album, Live at the Monkey Room, captured her in concert) is a defining document for a woman who quickly found her voice. Produced by Marvin Etzioni, the former lynchpin with the band Lone Justice, engineered by Jeff Peters (The Beach Boys) and Sheldon Gomberg (Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite), the descriptively titled effort boasts a myriad of decisive influences- Rhiannon Giddens, Bobbie Gentry, Janis Joplin and Bessie Smith, among them. Yet, like any music that resonates so reliably, it conveys uncommon conviction and an emotional investment by the artist. According to the bio posted on her website, Rose camped in a tent in her uncle’s New York apartment and toiled in the service industry to scrape together enough money to pay the musicians that perform on the album.
Considering her efforts well worthwhile. While many of the songs find her singing about trouble and strife, the celebratory, big brass-influenced, gospel-like shout-out Oh Glory Be, in particular, is a song that raises the stakes as far as hope and optimism are concerned. In that moment, both roots and rejoicing are intrinsically intertwined.
– Lee Zimmerman
Roots Revival - Radio FM Goud, (Belgium)
Dublin CityFM (Ireland)
Af Slag Thunder Road (Dolf Jansen (NL)
Folkal Point (Blues And Roots radio) (UK)
Americana radio (NL )(Harky)
Mystery Train radio (UK)
Crossroads radio (NL); Roots and Fusion (UK)
Roots paradise - Tarwestraat 99 – 1446CC Purmerend - (NL)
Radio Blues Intense - RBA FM Auvergne Limousin (France)
All Blues ( RBA FM Auvergne Limousin) (France)
Diana Schad/The Night Nurse Show - Pulse 98.4 (Scotland)
Get Ready To Rock! Radio (UK)
Baarn FM (NL)
Dublin South FM (Ireland)
Muziek en toch (Paul van Gelder, (NL)
Music Routes - Radio Summerhall (Edinburgh)
Lancashire Bluenotes - BBC Radio Lancashire (UK)
Blueprint - Radio RTV1 (Netherlands)
That Country Rock Show - The Blues Show with Gary Grainger - Bishop FM (UK)
An Ghealach Ghorm - RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta (Ireland)
The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour (UK)
And more ….