Stephanie Rose Releases ‘Sprout EP’


Critics and country fans alike can’t seem to stop talking about Stephanie Rose’s new record Sprout and it’s January single “Luxury,” which are both taking the world by storm this winter. Proving that country music is truly borderless in 2019, this plain-speaking Canadian is dishing out nothing but heartfelt anthems in her new EP, which boasts such mammoth ballads as “Old Soul,” “Same Old Same Old,” and the poignant “Rusted Love,” which I honestly found to be one of the most intelligently penned and performed songs released in the last year. Even the most discriminating of music enthusiasts among us will be forced to agree that no matter what side of the border you’re listening from, it’s hard to beat the vocal stylings of this erudite singer/songwriter.

Making a smart music video without overstating a theme isn’t the easiest task for any artist, but with a song like “Luxury” I think it’s all the more difficult. The track is already so lyrically reverent and self-aware that I don’t think I would have known where to start when it came time for shooting – but that’s where Stephanie Rose and I differ. Rose approaches the video with the same simplistic attitude she took in making Sprout; we follow her and a friend on a charming afternoon outside their snowbound cabin, watching as they accumulate the necessary supplies for survival all the while enjoying each other’s company, which to be fair, is the greatest luxury that any of us are afforded in this life.


Sprout and the video for “Luxury” were conceived using the same basic, cut and dry style of attack, but Rose’s attention to detail in both of these releases shouldn’t be discounted at all. Every component of the single and the songs that accompany it on Sprout is brilliantly realized in high definition, top shelf audio that leaves no room for us to guess what’s coming next. Every subtlety, including even the smallest of details like the hollow reverb in the drums or the childlike bounce of “Old Soul” and its rolling guitars, is given first class treatment behind the glass, and as a result we’re able to appreciate everything that Rose has to offer us. Engaging is putting it mildly; spellbinding, I think, does this record a bit more justice.

The title track and “Crushed” in particular are structured with a pop sensibility that is impossible to deny, but their reverent country swing keeps them grounded to the general feel of the record. In the long run I believe that Stephanie Rose will have a lot of crossover appeal with fans of pop music as well as country, and she definitely demonstrates a stylistic dexterity in these songs that should be respected by anyone who pays attention to trends in pop culture. January’s winter might can be a tough frost to thaw, but as far as I’m concerned, putting Sprout on the stereo is an excellent place for any country aficionado to start. It’s got the prowess of a pop EP with the smoky textures of a heartland anthology, which isn’t a combination that’s easy to come by.


Gwen Waggoner