Speed Of Sound (Eminent Records)
Rosie Flores has defied expectations ever since she started playing hard-edged country in the late '70s. She's explored rockabilly, introspective acoustic songs and sultry torch ballads without ever veering too far from her roots in rollicking, good-time country and R&B.
That singular journey continues on her latest album, Speed Of Sound. The disc kicks off with the rousing rockabilly number "Rock-A-Bye Boogie," which puts familiar nursery rhymes in an entirely new and grown-up context, then slides into the soulful standard "Don't Know If I'm Comin' Or Goin.' "
The title track is a chilling, atmospheric tale of a woman trying to run from her past, while "Don't Take It Away" is a desperate plea for love, propelled by Rosie's chugging guitar and winsome vocals. By contrast, the jazzy rhythms of the gentle "Somebody's Someone" carry singing that's just above a whisper.
But the album's highlight comes when Rosie carries the upbeat melody of "Somewhere Down The Line" - perhaps the happiest breakup song ever written - to soaring heights. Rosie Flores may not do what anyone expects of her. But on Speed Of Sound, she once again proves her own instincts right.
- Matthew T. Everett