Almost a year after moving to Asheville, southern songstress Alexa Rose released her latest album Low and Lonesome on New Year’s Eve 2016, “and I’ve been working up a bunch of new music since then,” she says. Rose has also been playing with bandmates like Laura Durkin (aka The Midnight Stringbird), join her performance at the Pritchard Park Singer/Songwriter Series on Thursday, June 22. They hope to begin work on a new album called Little Mountain Town this fall, with a release date in early 2018.
In anticipation of her forthcoming Pritchard Park performance, Rose participated in a Q&A led by Asheville Downtown Association.
ADA: What do you personally get out of playing solo, as opposed to with a band? And what's the trade-off?
Rose: All the little soft and hidden things in the songs seem to shine a little brighter when they are presented minimalistically. Playing as a duo with Laura is currently my favorite setup. The lyrics and the movement of the song are really at the forefront as a soloist, and adding Laura enables the song to build in the right places with vocal harmonies and fiddle. The band really allows each song to be a full production. Most people associate bands with high energy songs, but there are some really beautiful moments with the gentler songs when we add the band. And people tend to dance more with the full band, which makes me so happy!
What aspects of your music do you hope listeners take away?
A sense of place of which they are a part. Once, after a show, an audience member said to us, “I felt like I was sitting on my grandparents’ porch listening to June Carter!” While we aren’t playing Carter Family covers or really presenting traditional music, we are mountain people curating art that is inseparable from our upbringing in the regional music and tradition of Appalachia and of the American South. This informs not only our playing style, but also the way we tell the stories within the songs — from homegrown tomatoes to heartbreaks. We want people to feel as good listening to our stuff as we feel when we play it.
Who is one musical act — local or not — that you would love to collaborate with, and what do you imagine would result from that meshing of sounds?
Oh Pep! is a phenomenal duo based out of Melbourne, Australia. We recently saw them opening for Valerie June at the Orange Peel and have completely fallen in love with their playing style. It’s involved, yet minimalistic. I think their female duo plus our female duo would result in some awesome four-part harmonies and lots of pizzicato on the fiddles. Locally, we’d love to collaborate with Town Mountain to channel their upbeat bluegrass magic, or Midnight Snack for their groovy beats and horn section!
What has been inspiring your recent lyrics?
Everything from wildflowers, whiskey, Texas, fine tooth combs, tickets to San Francisco, my grandfather’s banjo, exit 15 past Weaverville, hundred mile drives, and Carolina stars.
Where do you go or what do you do to cure writer's block or simply refresh your perspective?
I don’t know the answer to that yet. Inspiration tends to come in big, random waves and often at inconvenient times. I could say I’d go for a drive or hike some mountain, but that never really works for me. I’ve even tried eating lots of cheese. Ultimately, I’ve found it’s just best to wait out the writer’s block, and the songs always end up writing themselves when I least expect it.
Alexa Rose performs from 6-8 PM at Pritchard Park on Thursday, June 22. The show is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. RSVP on Facebook here or visit the artist’s website at www.alexarosemusic.com.