Main Stage, 1:25-2:05 p.m.
Whitney Rose can’t recall when she started singing Hank Williams tunes because she was so young, her memories don’t stretch that far back. But she knows where her love of classic country took hold: in her grandparents’ bar on Prince Edward Island, where she also heard country-influenced genre-blenders like The Mavericks. Her introduction to old-school pop came in first-grade gym class, where her teacher played the Ronettes and other greats.
Though Rose began writing songs only five years ago and didn’t front her first band until a year later, her devotion to those styles quickly evolved into an Americana-rooted form she calls “vintage-pop-infused neo-traditional-country” — a sound so beguiling, it earned her opening slots on two Mavericks tours and enticed lead singer Raul Malo to produce her new album, Heartbreaker of the Year. The Cameron House Records release drops stateside on Aug. 21 via Redeye Worldwide.
Recorded in four days at Toronto’s Revolution Studios, Rose’s sophomore effort contains eight originals and two well-chosen covers: Williams’ “There’s a Tear in My Beer” and the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” on which she and Malo share a sultry duet so sublime, it could turn the song into a hit all over again. Malo contributes vocals, guitar and percussion throughout, accompanied by Mavericks Jerry Dale McFadden (keyboards), Paul Deakin (drums) and Jay Weaver (bass), as well as Burke Carroll (steel guitar, dobro, lap steel) and Drew Jurecka (strings), plus Rose’s main wingman, guitarist/mandolinist Nichol Robertson.
Rose attributes her rapport with the Mavericks to their shared admiration for time-tested country and pop. “I’m very attracted to the simplicity of older music,” she explains. “It’s straightforward; here’s a story, here’s a feeling … three chords and the truth.”