It’s hard to believe, but Caitlin Rose released her debut record Own Side Now domestically a decade ago. With the help of ATO records, she has returned with a deluxe, ten-year anniversary edition of that heralded collection. Plus, it comes completely remastered with not only a fresh sound, but also her first new songs in eight years: “Whatchoo” and “Only Lies.” Breaking a long drought of music releases from the Nashville-based Texan, these two tunes remind us of what it is about Rose’s music that we love so much. Her directness and dry melancholy give her songs a familiar and relatable quality. Along with the album and the new songs on it, Rose released a performance video of “Only Lies,” which she and Jordan Lehning recorded for a telethon in 2020.
“We were definitely in a rush to get it done, but we’d been doing a lot of demos and still having fun toying around with different mics. As soon as he busted out that RCA KU3A it was like I’d just met a ghost,” Rose says. “It turned out to be his great uncle’s mic who was a Hollywood sound guy in the ’50s and even worked on some Hitchcock. The fact that it had shared an era and a soundstage with some iconic films definitely added a mood to this, but it is funny considering we just shot this on an iPhone.”
The lyrics and video for “Only Lies” are done so straightforwardly that together they feel like a conversation with yourself in the mirror, addressing truths and pains with a matter-of-fact pragmatism that characterizes much of Own Side Now. She notes, “In 2008 I was leaning hard into ‘classic’ and ‘cosmic country,’ George Jones, Gram Parsons, early Ronstadt recordings, in a very unironic way. Even though it wasn’t my only influence, I felt pressure that country was what I was supposed to be doing. My take on it was no doubt kind of quirky, but it came naturally to me. It was easy and fun but I knew I still hadn’t found my own direction.”
Speaking about “Only Lies,” she continues, “Jordan Lehning, who co-wrote the song, inspired me to dig deeper, musically, melodically. He pulled me out of a creative rut I didn’t even know I was in. It was an uncomfortable growth period, and while he didn’t produce Own Side Now, he was still a huge influence on my own artistic evolution. To me, the song itself is a perfect take on the end of a romantic relationship that exists within a creative one. A necessary emotional cynicism that gets you through to the other side.”
Photo Credit: Danielle Holbert