First Watch: Sean Rowe’s Oaken Baritone Bolsters The Hopeful ‘Gas Station Rose’
By Bob Boilen
Sean Rowe’s voice, a room-rattling baritone, demands attention. The stories he tells with it are portraits that feel simple on the surface… they never are. Within “Gas Station Rose,” Sean Rowe is on the road with a partner, they have each other, not much else. Even this little scene is filled with tension:
And though we can’t have a garden while we’re still on the road
There’s only room on the dash for a gas station rose
You know that when I shut up
I got somethin’ to say
I was looking at you
You were looking away
At least we dodged the New York winter
Despite the pair’s obstacles, there’s an optimism here. “The line ‘we are the elders of our minds,'” Rowe says, “means that we control our own destiny, that it’s what we believe about ourselves that determines where we go.”
As for the music, Sean Rowe is letting his voice carry the songs, with inimal accompaniment; an acoustic guitar underpinning a piano chord, perfectly placed to punctuate the strain in the song.
“Gas Station Rose” is taken from New Lore, Sean Rowe’s sixth album, recorded at Sam Phillips’ historic studios in Memphis. It will be released April 7 on Anti-.