'Holding The Keys to A Musical Page-Turner!'
At their best, well-written, expertly-executed songs do more than just tell a story — they pose important questions. On If Songs Could Be Held, her third full-length for Sub Pop, Seattle songwriter/vocalist Rosie Thomas approaches the sometimes difficult but universal topics of introspection, identity and love with bravery, honesty, and above all, stunning beauty.
These songs aren’t all about Thomas’ personal experience, however. This departure into the fictitious is only the first of numerous artistic stretches from 2003’s Only With Laughter Can You Win and Thomas’ 2001 Sub Pop debut, When We Were Small.
Making a concerted effort to remove herself from her comfort zone, the Seattleite went so far as to pack her bags and work on the new album amidst the hustle and heat of Los Angeles. Thomas may have already sounded angelic before recording in the City of Angels, but the bold resolution in her voice this time around was certainly born of the strength she gained taking chances.
Chatting recently with Rosie, Jason Fubler, I first asked her more about her days touring with the Motor City dream pop band Velour 100? "It was incredibly fun. It was my first experience touring and thanks to velour 100 I met Damien Jurado. I played my first show with Damien in Detroit and fell in love with him. I mean his music ...!"
Where did this new album title If Songs Could Be Held originate? "From a childrens book called "If" that I came across at a mom 'n pop bookstore in Brooklyn. It was wonderful from front to back. The book was all about what if's; what if this and what if that and it was magical really. On one of the pages was written "If music could be held" and I thought it was so wonderful and I said out loud ... "That's it! That's my record title!" What if songs could be held? What would they feel like? Would they burden you, or get you through the day? Personally, I think they would feel heavy but I sure would hold them and take care of them as I would a dear friend, but I just might have to invest in a motor scooter then to get me around or hire a sumo wrestler or a body builder to carry them around for me!"
If you could indeed 'hold' a song, which one would you choose to and why?! "Every song that I love has merit. Perhaps I would want to hold them all then!"
Along the way, independent artists always have to take risks, so what has been the biggest risk that you have undertaken thus far? "Perhaps trying to maintain functioning, healthy relationships has been my biggest struggle thus far. When you are gone half of the year it gets really, really hard and that's a real bummer. I feel so blessed to do what I love for a living, but I surely never realized just how many sacrifices would be involved in doing so. I guess its made me understand that love takes a lot of work, a ton more work than I thought, but what a worthy investment love is indeed."
Tell me more about your comedic alter ego, a bespectacled pizza delivery girl named Sheila ... and is she here with us now?! "She is not unfortunately. She is in Canada right now having her 3rd lazer eye surgery. Cross your fingers for her. She was recently attacked by 12 or so Canadian geese up there. She was writing in her journal and they just went nuts on her head, and pecked a ton of her hair out. She recovered rather quickly, now she just looks like she has male patterned baldness."
What cheesy '80s song would you love to cover if asked ... and why?! 'It would be 'Voices Carry' by Til' Tuesday. I love that song, it's so good!"
If you were asked to record a single for charity, and had to choose 3 other KNOWN musicians to aid you in the project (and no one from your band!), who would they be, what instruments would they play, and what would the name of the NEW song be?! "The song would be titled "For The Price Of A Cup Of Coffee' ... I would have Damien Jurado on guitar, Rufus Wainwright on piano and Sufjan Stevens on the recorder and we'd raise an ass load for that charity, yes we would indeed!"
Finally, I like Penguins, ... do you?! "Absolutely! They look adorable in those tuxedos!"
Rosie, thank you for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future "My pleasure indeed. Thank you very, very much. Love, Rosie."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a copy of Rosie's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: What is Rosie's middle name?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 31st with your answer and the subject title 'ROSIE CDs' to: email@example.com
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