According to her label Spinster Sounds, Rosali wrote the songs on her new album “as a way to seek empowerment,” and to allow herself to speak openly and honestly on themes ranging from love to anger, from power to loneliness. The solo project of Philadelphia-based artist Rosali Middleman, also of Long Hots and Wandering Shade, Rosali’s second solo album Trouble Anyway, out now, weaves together a spectrum of emotions and experiences with her singular folk rock sound.
The album was recorded and mixed by Jeff Ziegler and features instrumental contributions from a star-studded roster of musicians, many with Philly roots, including harpist Mary Lattimore, guitarist Paul Sukeena and drummer Nathan Bowles. But as intricate as her backing sounds may be, they remain soft and simple enough that Rosali’s warm vocals cut through the strongest. Anthemic songs like album singles “Lie To Me” and “I Wanna Know” have earned her comparisons to Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s, while others, like “If I Was Your Heart” and the eight-minute “Rise to Fall,” are hushed and contemplative ballads filled with traditional folk and country sounds and a softness that does not compromise their intensity.
“Struggling with my thoughts / when did I get caught in a web, already begun to fray?” sings Rosali on the brooding yet shimmering title track, “Grasping at the air, clutching what’s not there, though I know I’ll hold it someday.” Throughout the album, Rosali walks this line between dreaminess and despair — equal parts vulnerable and defiant while never losing that hopeful edge, Rosali proves that the empowerment she was seeking was there all along, waiting to be turned into song.
Even in the middle of an album cycle and with a long string of tour dates on the way, Rosali recently found time to record covers for Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe sessions, contributing renditions of Cat Power’s “Metal Heart,” Gillian Welch’s “One More Dollar” and Karen Dalton’s “Something On Your Mind.” Listen here.
Trouble Anyway is out now via Spinster and Scissor Tail; stream it in full below and find physical copies here. Rosali plays a record release show this Wednesday, July 11, at Johnny Brenda’s with Erin Rae and Daniel Bachman. Find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar.
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