Eileen Rose

Long Shot Novena

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By the time Eileen Rose's debut album, Shine Like It Does, came out in 2001, the female singer/songwriter boom of the '90s was unofficially over. Major labels were no longer going out of their way to find the next Alanis Morissette, the next Fiona Apple, or the next Sarah McLachlan. But talented female singer/songwriters had not disappeared -- they were still doing their thing even though they weren't being hyped to death by major labels. And one of the more promising ones was Eileen Rose, whose second album, Long Shot Novena, is an enjoyably bluesy collection of roots rock and folk-rock. One hears a variety of influences on this release; Rose's singing and writing have been influenced by everyone from Stevie Nicks and Marianne Faithfull to Bob Dylan. But Rose never sounds like she is emulating any of her influences; ultimately, the Boston native (now living in England) sounds like herself on "White Dove's Awake," "See How I Need You," and other melodic yet gritty originals. Rose (who wrote all of the songs herself and plays guitar on all of them) is obviously well aware of the power of the blues; Long Shot Novena isn't a blues album, but the singer/songwriter brings a lot of blues feeling to her roots rock and folk-rock. One of the CD's best tracks is the poignant "For Marlene," which she wrote for the mother of a young Boston woman who was murdered in 1997. Five years after Rose wrote "For Marlene," the killer had yet to be caught -- and Rose's song explains that time had not healed the mother's wounds. Meanwhile, Rose brings a strong country influence to "Big Dog," but for the most part, she isn't a country singer. Roots rock and folk-rock are the styles that usually prevail on this memorable sophomore outing.

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