Stephanie Rose releases “Sprout” EP & Luxury Single
When you take balladry that doesn’t rely on memorable lyrics alone and fuse it with a multidimensional approach to melody that is steeped just as much in folk-rock pleasantries as it is Nashville twang, you end up with Sprout, the boisterous new EP from country singer Stephanie Rose, who, as Canadian music fans are well aware of, has been an unstoppable forest fire in the Great White North the last few years. She’s racked up a slew of awards and adulation from critics throughout North America, and in Sprout she continues to develop a sound that can only be described as focused, urbane, and a daring standout in her scene.
Stephanie Rose has an inspirational quality in her songwriting that makes even her most somber songs feel like anthems of self-reliance and strength. “Rusted Love,” “Crushed” and “Same Old Same Old” have the makings of being depressing blue note country ballads punctuated with happy-go-lucky melodies, but thanks to Rose’s chipper demeanor, which extends well beyond the limits of her execution, they’re sprawling, relatable songs that don’t feel suffocating or even all that sad. She takes an interesting path to her destination, but this singer/songwriter clearly knows exactly how to get where she’s going sonically.
Sprout’s lead single “Luxury” is bolstered by an accompanying music video starring Rose herself, who despite being in almost every frame never utters a single line. The music is the only soundtrack to the home video-esque story that’s told of a winter cabin and its two humble occupants. As much as it may feel like an exercise in surrealism, the video is as straight and studded with unarrogant positivity as the music is. Instead of feeling like we’ve seen something that has little, if anything, to do with the content of the single, it’s more like we’ve come full circle and put a friendly face to a very relatable, down-to-earth melody.
There’s a lot of layers to Stephanie Rose’s sound, not unlike the many inches of snow surrounding that unforgettable cabin that we find in “Luxury.” I detect elements of country, pop, folk and even soft rock in her sonic profile, and none of them ever conflict with each other or war for our attention, even in songs that are constructed as hybrids (“Old Soul,” “Sprout”). She’s got a very balanced musical persona, and for someone as young as she is, that’s nothing to scoff at.
Stephanie Rose has been on a whirlwind ride since 2015’s Go Where the Wind Takes You, and with the release of Sprout she elevates her moniker to a higher level of recognition that will no doubt assist in her breaking into the American country lexicon. Country music is a much more diverse genre than what a lot of critics have ever given it credit for, and with Rose’s ascent comes the addition of another strain pastoral harmonies that deserves to be celebrated for the rare treat that it is. If you haven’t already, acquire a copy of Sprout for yourself and see what all the hype is about – you won’t be disappointed.