The Pink Stones & Esther Rose
June 22, 2023
- 576 Poplar St, Macon, GA 31201
- Location: Grant's Lounge
- Time: 9:00 PM
You Know Who, the follow-up to The Pink Stones' 2021 debut album, Introducing...The Pink Stones, drops on New West Records June 30. Produced once again by Henry Barbe (Deerhunter, Drive By Truckers), the 11-song record pushes the boundaries of modern country and rock n’ roll music. Based in Athens, GA, the Pink Stones sound takes influence from recordings of George and Tammy, as well as J.J. Cale’s self produced Tulsa sound. The record is also just as inspired by the windy city cuts of Curtis Mayfield, all styles that covers the band’s sound in cigarette smoke and whiskey spills. The six-piece band has utilized their performing chops to make a tight but soulful album with featured guests such as Nikki Lane, Jack Quiggins and Ryan Jennings (Teddy & the Rough Riders), John James Tourville (Deslondes), and Annie Leeth (Faye Webster). No strangers to friends and guests, this ramshackle unit formed together flawlessly to take the next leap into The Pink Stones.
New West Records labelmate, singer/songwriter, Esther Rose, also has a new release, her fourth, entitled Safe to Run. It’s the quiet culmination of years spent fully immersed in a developing artistry, and presents Rose’s always vividly detailed emotional scenes with new levels of clarity and control. As with previous work, her songwriting transfigures the chaos and uncertainty of a life in progress, but here she introduces a newfound pop element that attaches unshakably catchy hooks to even the darkest stretches of the journey. Rose takes an unblinking look at her own vulnerabilities as well as more universal concerns, somehow never taking herself too seriously in the process. This manifests as a critique of the insidious sexism of the music industry on “Dream Girl,” but quickly melts into a hazy memoryscape of the dive bar drama and suspended hovering of her early 20s on “Chet Baker.” The song “Safe to Run” (a gorgeous duet with Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra) directly merges the personal with the global, superimposing feelings of spiritual displacement onto the larger, looming dread of climate grief. Rose breathes in the ecstasy of the natural world in one line and makes fun of herself a few bars later. There are ghosts in the room for most of her songs, but she’s invited them in and is cracking jokes with them over a drink or two. Ultimately all of these new advancements become twinkles of light in the background as they fold into the big picture impact of the songs themselves. Esther Rose translates her world into eleven curious and captivating scenes. While the songs are stunning one by one, absorbing Safe to Run as a whole feels like witnessing something taking shape, experiencing the headspins of the elevation and the slow return to equilibrium as the clouds start clearing.