Tiptoeing the divide between showiness and subtlety, Caitlin Rose has a voice all-but guaranteed to melt hearts. Velvet-soft and effortlessly emotive, the 25-year-old Nashville native clearly has the capacity to belt out the high notes, but the good sense to know she doesn’t always have to, her tender restraint infinitely more affecting than any big-lunged talent show warbler. But while arguably the star attraction, there’s more to recommend The Stand In than just a pretty voice.
As on debut Own Side Now, Rose’s hometown heritage shapes her sound significantly; if anything, The Stand In’s fuller arrangements at times move Rose closer to her more mainstream modern country contemporaries, not further. But throughout, the songwriting remains distinguished and immaculately pitched, whether it’s walking a melancholic waltz (Pink Champagne) or an upbeat strut (Waitin’). Her mastery of melody yields soulful results that are proud of their roots yet gratifyingly unbeholden to them.