Published Oct 03, 2019In a genre imperilled by imitation, Alexa Rose is a refreshing dose of authenticity. Her debut, Medicine for Living, speaks to the current generation — not bound by country's often particular parameters — as well as the long-gone generation of folksy ramblers who created the very music she's reinventing. Where Rose differs from her modern contemporaries is in how and where she experiments with the genre. Here, she demonstrates that she is unafraid to truly be herself, even when that self falls outside of a digestible norm.
Rose's debut is as deeply sorrowful as it is hopeful, and that makes it the best case scenario. "Medicine for Living" takes a heartbreaking perspective on the end of a relationship, while the singer fights for her own on songs like "The Last Wildflower" and "The Leaving Kind." In the latter, she punctuates the lyrics, "Cause I can hold my own / But I won't tell / That this distance is a weight that I don't carry well," with a falling utterance, a sore reflection of lessons learned by a young woman in the throes of love. Both songs — like the entirety of Rose's debut — poignantly detail the uneasy growth in navigating relationships, as she herself goes through a stage of blossoming.
Throughout, the Appalachian traditionalist lifts her meandering voice to the heights of the rising wind, often to fall into bluesy cynicism, to a richly dynamic effect. Rose's vocal range is impressive and her aptitude for melody is equally striking. Underscored by her poetic lyrics, Medicine for Living is a testament to everything that's still great about traditional music and Americana. (Big Legal Mess)