She may look alarmingly similar to Alanis Morissette, but there the similarities end – thankfully. Rose is a girl who writes about personal experiences convincingly and on her own. But live on stage a motley crue of a band, consisting of cowboys, besuited chaps and one scruffy synth player shambled on to join her. Stetson-wearing members of Alabama 3 – the cowboys – were amongst the rag-tag assortment which also featured a late-arriving and distinctly red-about-the-cheeks guitarist, and another string strummer whose hair took on Eraserhead proportions – at least according to one audience member.
A set marked by an easy manner with an appreciative audience began with the haunting title track from her new album, Long Shot Novena. Haunting guitar and synth notes were the order of the day, underpinning distinct vocals. The winds of Nashville were already howling through the Borderline.
It was followed by several tracks from her previous album Shine Like It Does, all of which sounded impressive live. She chatted with the audience between songs about Kylie Minogue, and about her own love affair with the venue in which we stood admiring her.
Then we were treated to a whole bevvy of new tracks, some performed by Rose on her own, sporting a harmonica and an acoustic guitar. Her songs, a distinctive melange of country, folk and pop, ranged between impassioned acoustic affairs and full band belters of Nashville proportions. One highlight was Two In One, from Long Shot Novena, which was simply incendiary. And despite the band’s chaotic and somewhat amateur stage entrance, Rose’s songs won the whole audience over. An encore continued the well-judged set in similar vein, Rose playing solo and then again being joined by the band.
Eileen Rose has grown into a star since I last saw her, some two years ago, and now appears more assured and comfortable with performing her material in front of an audience that is becoming more partial to her. With a first-rate backing band and a huge talent for songwriting and performance alike, this lady is well worth spending an evening in the company of.