The late, great Kenny Rogers once said that “music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think” and he certainly wasn’t wrong. There is one thing country/Americana music does better than most genres in that it can draw the listener in with its unique four-minute storytelling and give the audience a chance to get wrapped up in the fictional narratives outside of our own lives. Something I think that’s especially important for us all at the moment.
I doubt when singer-songwriter Colin Halliburton, otherwise known as The Roseline, started writing Good/Grief he could have predicted that the release of his seventh album would, unfortunately, coincide with a global pandemic. Still, its mellow Americana tone has offered a bit of relief from the exhausting news stories and stress and anxiety of the last couple of weeks.
Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, it’s hard to believe The Roseline have released six albums over fifteen years. Although they have had a bit more success in the United States then this side of the pond with numerous sync placements for ABC’S Nashville and Resurrection as well as touring with Ryan Bingham and Dylan LeBlanc.
With influences ranging from Gram Parsons, Neko Case to Conor Oberst, The Roseline’s new album, Good/Grief, is a blend of alt-country rock with a big sound combining the good and bad of what had been a tumultuous year for them.
It’s the sophistication of the songwriting on Good/Grief that shows how Halliburton has mastered the art of storytelling over the last fifteen years, developing his place in an oversaturated genre. Better To The Bone starts the album off with a classic, well-rounded Americana vibe combining a full acoustic tone with a melodic electric guitar riff that flows through the song. It’s a simple, beautiful and delicate track that’s made for radio airplay.
Throughout the rest of the album, it’s little gems like Ghost Writer, Pheasant Feather and Bilirubin that carry the mood with their infectious melodies and sun-soaked feel bringing out the best of the soft, country-rock sound that’s reminiscent of the Eagles and The Band’s pioneering blend of Americana.
Whilst The Roseline keep to the standard alt-country tone during most of Good/Grief; it’s refreshing to hear them move outside the genre with Inside Out. This three-minute punchy rock and roll song stands out from the rest of the album. It’s more of a dynamic piece with its catchy chorus and layered guitars; it’s easily the highlight.
The last track, A Song for Ehren, is a rhythmically hypnotising homage to the band’s former keyboardist, Ehren Starks, who sadly passed away. It’s emotionally evocative and a perfect way to end the act’s first album without him.
Good/Grief is out now. Enjoy!