The lovely people over at TOM Magazine have deemed Red Roses to be their Album of the Week
You can read an amazing review of the album here at TOM Magazine or below. Thanks so much to Hedi Mailer for giving Red Roses four and a half stars!
If you like what you hear, you can see Sue live this weekend at the Black Bear Lodge! Hope to see you there.
Red Roses (Sue Ray Music)
With its bright, bold harmonica intro and jaunty melodic quality, the opening track of Brisbane singer/songwriter Ray’s second album, Shake It Off, is in many ways classic Sue Ray: an engaging instrumental composition paired with often deceptively dark lyrics. “There’s a storm in a cup and it’s drinking me up dear,” she sings. “Could you maybe pass the salt? There’s a lemon in my eyes and smoke up in the sky / And I’m having trouble keeping up.” Back in 2007, I happened upon Ray playing a show at the now defunct Troubadour and was utterly spellbound. She has the sort of rare voice – deep, dark, gorgeously emotive, and molasses-rich that stirs something within the listener and never quite lets go. She gets under your skin and stays there. The following year, Ray released her debut album. The appropriately named Best Beware was a wonderful slice of lo-fi alt-country and its follow-up, Red Roses, builds on the immense promise of that record.
These 12 songs are evocative, sometimes quietly playful, often sad, almost always wryly knowing and impressively well crafted. Many deal with heartbreak, loss, longing or love gone awry – ‘Love Evermore’, ‘Wish I Was’ and ‘Red Roses’, for example – and showcase Ray’s torch singer vocals to perfection. Whether she is inhabiting the persona of a woman scornful and angry at the loss of her husband (‘Soldier’s Son’) – on which she lets loose with lines like: “This soldier’s son is gonna need a dad / The war was won but there’s no one in my bed / And the well is nearly empty and the milk is turning sour / Guess I’m all the man this house has now” – or reflecting on the letters she writes a lover in her head (‘Another Letter’) – “Wrote you another letter in my head / It’s a shame you’ll never know just what it said” – one thing remains impressively consistent: her heart-rending voice and undeniable gifts as a songwriter. If you’re a fan of the likes of Brandi Carlile or Laura Cantrell, give Sue Ray a listen; chances are you’ll emerge from the experience an unequivocal convert to her passionately original brand of alt-country.