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Music Review: Haroula Rose – Someday [EP]

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With music that’s as heartening as a lullaby, yet informed by perceptions both redolent and inherently mature, singer/songwriter Haroula Rose introduces herself as a remarkable talent — and a remarkably promising one at that — on her debut release, a 5-track EP entitled Someday.

Nurturing an organic, windswept sound borne of folk and alt.country influences, Rose — whose soft, unaffected voice recalls Alison Krauss and perhaps Mindy Smith — is generously supported by delicate melodies and arrangements.

She draws on themes of doubt and self-assurance — both the presence and the lack thereof — endearing herself as empathetic and emotionally receptive. In “The Leaving Song,” for instance, she sings with a wistful premonition of how her insecurities will cause the loss of a love, likely her first of real significance. “Oh babe it’s all so new to me,” she laments amidst a gentle rustle of strings and piano.

In turn, “Love Will Follow” finds her conciliatory and strong, assuring her special someone that in spite of his apparent disillusionment — “You get further away/ Every day/ What do you look for?” — she will always be with him. A stark and steady guitar progression underscores this promise and, while its sentiment may be simple, the compassion with which Rose imparts it makes for a gripping song.

Rose turns especially pensive, though, on “If I Could Pray,” during which she questions the essence of her faith and how — if such were more secure — it would sustain her in moments of great uncertainty. Ironically, she does so against a playful rhythm of hand claps and assorted strings, making what could’ve been a brooding meditation into something more hopeful and resilient.

Of course, it would be presumptuous to conclude — even though she’s written everything on this EP in the first person (and despite references here of her as a subject) — that Haroula Rose is relating firsthand experiences or exact personal feelings. What believing in such an assumption does speak to, however, is her authenticity as a songwriter as well as an interpreter of her own works.

In just over twenty minutes, Rose makes a notable impression with Someday, delivering one of the finer debuts of the year thus far.

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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Rickie Lee Jones, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.