Raina Rose
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Raina Rose

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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"Raina Rose album "When May Came" review- "For Raina Rose's 'When May Came' ""

I met Raina Rose six years ago when I was living in a creaky old house in Denton, TX and she was blowing through town like the wind, like she always does. We became friends after a night at a friend's house with guitars, Grateful Dead, and popcorn. After she left, we stayed in touch without even trying which I guess is what happens when you decide to make music your life and meet others who have done the same. I now have the pleasure of seeing and hearing her around Austin and was really excited to get to spend some time this afternoon with her new album, When May Came.

This is Raina's 4th album and was recorded by Stephen Orsak in our neighbor PJ Oehler's spare room under the oak trees in south Austin. The recording really glows with the joy and laughter of how comfortable she was in the space, surrounded by friends; musical, nonmusical, and canine. Gone are the touches of reverb on her voice, steel guitar, electronics, and full backup bands which occasionally made some of her previous efforts seem a bit impersonal. As a reflection of her brutally honest lyrics, her voice is present and real, like you are listening to her in your own living room or on your back porch which is where, if you are a fan of Raina's live shows, you probably first saw her. Her voice and deft guitar playing are front and center in the mix and are lovingly encircled by quality musicianship and simple arrangements with string bass, banjo, cello, keys, guitar, and a couple of talented ladies lending some backup vocals. The economy and the craftsmanship of the arrangements on this album reminds me of the desert; nothing is there that isn't necessary and the space and simplicity makes everything that is there beautiful.

With her crafty guitar work and soaring voice, sometimes gritty like Janis, sometimes warbly like Nina Simone, Raina could easily fool you into thinking she is just a folk singer. Belting out bluegrass standards in the middle of the street at the Kerrville Folk Festival or (as when I met her) laughing through Grateful Dead favorites around the coffee table in Johann's garage apartment, she wears the traveling troubadour hat well. But like any great songwriter that has come before, Raina shares her talent equally on this album as a singer and as a storyteller. Every character and situation is wrought carefully with detail, the words tumbling out one after the other and flying away to make room for more. Where lesser writers might have left Desdemona as being beautiful and lovely, Raina makes sure you know that 'Desdemona is a coyote/you can't own her' who would not just travel but 'travel like Moses on the road'. A pop song in its own right complete with handclaps and a bouncy sing along chorus, Desdemona would satiate not only the 'hands in the air wave em like you just don't care' crowd but people who are actually listening as well. In some of Raina's earlier work, like the song 'I Like you Better' she goes straight for the good stuff, before :30 we're already 'making love like we're making dinner.' Her approach to the the love song idea is really different here, cautious, less willing to give you everything at once, drawing it out like seasoned veteran of not just having love affairs but writing about them. She seems done with the obvious and takes you to the lonely corners of the heart where she's not afraid to just talk about the good stuff but also about the agony, longing, and loss of love like on 'If You're Gonna Go' or the penitent 'Bluebonnets' where she promises (backed up by Grace Rowland and David Moss of the Blue Hit) not to 'read the last page first and miss the story of it.'

Raina uses the talents of her ATX band well, augmenting the dark escape-in-the-night 'Nashville' with a great driving rhythm section from Derek Hansen of Wino Vino on drums, Drew Pressman of the Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang on bass, and the flying fingers of Trevor Smith of Green Mountain Grass on banjo. When I gave the song 'Hearts Broken Open' a first listen, I am not kidding, I was sitting outside in the grass and two red tailed hawks flew in front of me, circling one another in the sky. As they drifted out of sight they made a perfect metaphor for the lovely interplay on this track between Drew Pressman's bass and Raina's voice and guitar playing. The bass and guitar circle each other, giving and taking, melody, rhythm, and harmony. The lavish touches from Adam Rader, Stephen Orsak, and Stephen Smith are too many to mention, even if it's just one note as on 'If You're Gonna Go' or the churchlike solemnity the Rhodes lends to 'Your Neighbor's Trampoline.'

I'm historically not really much of a believer in folk music, singer songwriters, or girls with guitars, but I believe in lovely and immensely talented Raina Rose and can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next. - Annie Street Arts Collective

"Raina Rose album "When May Came" review"

I have a confession to make. When I reviewed the album End of Endless False Starts here, the album had actually been out a while. So it was fifteen months later that Rose put the wraps on her new one. And here it is.

End of Endless False Starts described a turbulent relationship, but ended on a hopeful note, as the title would suggest. But soon after, Rose left her boyfriend and even lived in her car briefly. When May Came tells what happened next. The songs may have different narrators in somewhat different situations. But, as with End of Endless False Starts, there is still a narrative arc here. What is described is the mourning process for a relationship.

The album is divided into three sections. The first four songs are ballads or midterm numbers, and all feature narrators at the end of relationships, but still hoping that they can stay together. There is a dramatic tension in these songs, a tug of war between sorrow and hope. If You’re Gonna Go starts with the words, “If you’re gonna go, go now.”, and the last verse starts, “So I’ll go, and I’ll go lightly.” She seems to have given up. But the last line of each chorus is, “So just stay with me this morning.” These songs are not emotionally tidy, but they shouldn’t be.

The music features the guitar here and throughout, with other instruments adding color. Rose produced this one herself, and the musical textures are not as varied as last time, but that suits the material well. Rose’s voice has lost much of the sweetness that was there last time, again, as suits the material. Here, Rose sounds like she has done a lot of crying, and not many tears are left. This was perhaps the biggest surprise to me on When May Came. I didn’t know from last time that Rose could sing like this.

So, I mentioned that the album has three sections. The next two songs provide a breather. Desdemona describes a literal or figurative road trip taken by two women who start the song as strangers. To me, this one had a Thelma and Louise feel. Nashville describes the hopes and fears of a musician trying to make it in the town of the title. The song has no illusions, but sounds a hopeful note. These two songs are uptempo numbers, and provide a bit of relief from the relationship songs.

The last section is five songs long. Here, the narrator finds a way to accept what has happened and try to move on. The emotional tug of war is between denial and acceptance. Pretty Good Today trying to deny the hurt and say she’s fine. In What Do You Bury?, the man has died, and the narrator tries to say she never loved him, as she reviews all of his flaws. But it is still hard to let go. But finally Heart Broke Open and Bluebonnets, she is ready to say, “Yes, I still hurt, but I am ready to try to love again.” I found Bluebonnets particularly moving. The song is a promise to a lover that she has made mistakes, but will try to do better. Will she succeed? Perhaps Raina Rose’s next album will tell us. Or maybe Rose will decide not to be so personal next time. Either way, I look forward to more fine word craft and storytelling. And I look forward to Rose continuing to impress with the range of expression in her voice. - Oliver di Place

"Raina Rose album "Despite the Crushing Weight of Gravity" review"

August 12, 2005
by Marty Hughley

Raina Rose and Meredith Cushing met as 8-year-olds at summer camp, took up music together in their teens and spent several years as the core of a Portland folk act called the Gypsy Moths. Eventually, they flew their separate ways. And, to judge by Rose's new CD, "Despite the Crushing Weight of Gravity," maybe lifelong friendship was holding them back. That is to say, Rose's solo effort marks a notable step up from the duo's sometimes cutesy approach. "Gravity" won't reshape anyone's thinking about the possibilities of singer-songwriter folk/pop, but it could confirm your feelings about the simple pleasures of the form. One key is enlisting the right help, and the contributing musicians include such local stalwarts as bassist Michael Papillo (Amelia, 3 Leg Torso), drummer Ned Failing (Dirty Martini), harmonica master Joe Powers (Rose City Kings), guitarist Lewi Longmire (too numerous to list) and violinist Tracy Grammer. In large measure, though, the album is a collaboration between Rose and producer/multi-instrumentalist Jim Brunberg. The man behind Mississippi Studios and the band Box Set, Brunberg has a knack for dressing up the songs just enough to give them a little sympathetic strength. Apart from lead lines on a couple of cuts, Rose handles the guitar work herself, providing a clean, straightforward frame for the songs. Her voice is clear and sweet, recalling at times Suzanne Vega or Dirty Martini's McKinley, and even -- when she opts for a slip-and-slide sort of phrasing popular with young female folkies these days -- Ani DiFranco. Rose's songwriting shows variety. She is most compelling when she gets serious, as in the ruminative "See You Singing," on which her multitracked vocals create a haunting effect, or the dark literary vignette "Back Alley Butcher." Several other songs -- such as "Nameless Ship," with its bracing string quartet accompaniment, the reggae-inflected "Bicycle" and the closing solo instrumental "Somnambulist" -- tip the scales well toward the positive. Suffice to say, this moth has taken wing. - Oregonian (Portland, OR)

"From Portland to Austin: Raina Rose relocates"

The reports are true–the City of Roses has lost one of its brightest musical flowers. The lovely singer/songwriter Raina Rose has relocated to Austin, Texas.

She’s also come into full bloom on her latest album, When May Came, a delightful collection of heartfelt tunes brimming with sunshine and heartbreak.

An open-hearted free spirit, Rose laughs when asked how she describes her music. “I tell people that I’m an itinerant hobo living in my car. It’s folk music in simple terms–honest words meant to help people realize that they aren’t alone.”

It’s hard to feel alone listening to Rose’s easygoing songs and wide-eyed, honest voice. There’s an intimacy and vulnerability to them that makes it seem like she’s a good friend rather than just another singer/songwriter.

“I try to be as honest and naked with my songwriting as possible,” she explains. “Songwriters are people who live life out on the front line. You live hard and you love hard and when your heart breaks, it breaks completely. It’s not really intentional, so much as it is my experience of the world.”

When May Comes is also peppered with references to the natural world–another byproduct of Rose’s openness to her experiences.

“I play songs that come to me but I don’t think of them as mine,” she says. “You can’t own a song.

“Weather and seasons have a deep impact on all things in my life,” she continues. “Sometimes when you write a song at night, something about the moon pops up in the lyrics because that’s what you’re looking at and that’s what’s looking at you.”

When May Comes is full of gems, but the bittersweet second track, “Your Neighbor’s Trampoline,” truly stands out. An understated waltz, it takes a magical memory and unravels into regret and doubt. It’s truly affecting.

On the other end of the spectrum, the banjo-fueled “Nashville” is a ramble through the life of a traveling musician–something this musical gypsy is well familiar with.

“I love my life,” says Rose, when asked about her itinerant lifestyle. “I need a break from traveling for like two months right now–but other than that, I love the simplicity of my life. I own very little. I have friends all over the country who support and appreciate me. I am totally a commitment-phobe. I’ll admit that. My family has stopped asking me when I’m going to college and replaced it with ‘When are you coming to town?’ which is really nice.”

And speaking of coming (or going) to town, what about her relocation to Austin?

“Austin has more sunshine than Portland,” says the nature-loving songbird. “The music scene is a family. It’s equidistant from both coasts. Most importantly, the city of Austin gives musicians free health care.

“I have more friends here than I can explain,” she continues. “This town loves music. And secretly,” she laughs, “I dearly love the state of Texas.” - Oregon Music News

"Raina Rose album "When May Came" review"

This morning I almost wrote about new records by Matt Harlan and Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers but in both cases other blogs beat me to the punch and did a good job sharing their music (here and here). So instead I will mention the new record by Raina Rose called When May Came.

When May Came was recorded in Raina’s living room mostly live and mixed by singer songwriter Jonathan Byrd. It has the immediacy of a record recorded live as well as the energy. “Sun Comes Back” is a perfect song for this rainy Chicago morning despite being a tale of a broken relationship. Any song with sun in the title picks me up just a little and I know the actual sun can’t be far from returning.

Raina Rose’s new record is out now on a little record label called Constant Clip Records created by singer-songerwriter and Songs:Illinois favorite Elam Blackman. Raina also has some shows coming up with the great Aj Roach so check her schedule for more info. You can purchase When May Came here. - Songs: Illinois

"Raina Rose album "End of Endless False Starts" review"

I wasn't sure if saying "a softer Difranco" was more a testament to Ani's wide swath or an oversimplified critique of Rose's emerging clear minded and clean voiced style. Then I thought "Either way the observation is true" and everyone, even us lonely criticoes, have to start somewhere. That's not to imply that the maturing Rose is just starting (this is her third indie release). It's better to say that she is coming into focus artist and into a wider listening range.

Sure she does/has in the past both here (Air & Water)teetered on the usual young female singer precipe, ie: too cute, too striving, too naïve. What that larger audience will hear is an exploring singer/songwriter not afraid to mash it up (cue the dramatic Misaligned Tires for a morphing of sound and space) or toss off a Dyalnism, "I'm a bad liar and a retired thief," with the greatest of ease (Not Not Love). A sly double entendre like "Boys caught between the devil and a power drill" (Starts With a Low Hum) shows she's thinking more than most and not worried about the her latest blog on MySpace, while a surprisingly pop delicacy displays her attention to influences with the shimmery King's Flashlight as does the Edie Brickell-fronts-the-Counting Crows folk breeze of Blind Cyrus.

If more clarification is needed, try this one: On the same day I received End of Endless False Starts I also received the mucho hyped discs by U2 (No Line On The Horizon) and Van Morrison's Live Astral Weeks. Two weeks later, she's still in my player alongside the new offerings by Neko Case and Eilen Jewell. Those other guys are up on a shelf somewhere. --Mike Jurkovic - Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange (FAME)

"Raina Rose album "When May Came" review"

album review
Raina Rose
When May Came (Constant Clip)

Reviewed by Rachel Helm
Tagged 2010 constant clip female vocalists folk rock indie rock raina rose singer-songwriter texas bands

This review is brief and unrated, to allow us broader coverage of more albums in a shorter amount of time.

It might take a few listens to get into, but Raina Rose's third full-length album, When May Came, will surprise you with its cohesion and simplicity. Between her big voice, with its unusual blend of twang and jazziness, and her whimsical sense of storytelling, Rose is definitely not just another boring indie folk songstress. There's a feeling of genuineness that surrounds each track on the album, whether it's about loneliness and heartbreak in "Stone Around My Neck" or hopefulness in "Sun Comes Back."

In an era trigger-happy with overdubs and mixing, it's odd to think that bands still record albums live. But listening to When May Came — which was recorded in a living room over the course of four days — you get a feeling for not only of what Rose might sound like onstage, but also what music means to her... and that's kind of beautiful. - Redefine Magazine

"Full-Fledged Butterfly"

Soaking up the strong music scene in Austin, folk artist Raina Rose seems to be right at home with the community there.

Rose, whose full name is Raina Rose Klein McClellan, was raised in Portland, Oregon and began her songwriting early in life, learning to play the guitar at age eleven and blazing a musical trail ever since.

For a number of years, Rose was a member of the Portland folk group known as the Gypsy Moths, along with her childhood friend, Meredith Cushing. Together, the group released their debut in 2004 and performed endlessly along the west coast. A live recording followed in 2006, but the band has since broken up, each member going their own way.

Rose’s path quickly blossomed into a solo career. The songwriter has released a series of confessional, introspective albums that showcase her undying passion and her bubbly, heartfelt songs. Her first album, Despite The Crushing Weight of Gravity arrived in 2005, introducing listeners to her beautiful blend of poignant storytelling and effortless guitar-plucking. The following year saw the release of the even stronger, The Prophet, The Panhandler, and The Moon.

But it’s Rose’s latest offering, End Of Endless False Starts, freshly recorded and released this year, that bring focus to her ever-sharpening talent.

Stand-outs include the album’s opener, “Are You Still In Love With The World?,” a song in which Rose is quick to reward listeners with a song both rich and poetic.

Banjo, fiddle and a lively beat help to bring “Desire” to life, a track that shows off Rose’s sharp word play.

You’re an alchemist if you can boil life down into handsome, rhyming couplets
And I think I’ll find a big ol’ man
Take fertility drugs and have sextuplets
Maybe a job at the border patrol
And I can pretend I have some control
~ Raina Rose

Rose’s “Misaligned Tires,” arrives halfway into the collection, and begins with a stark and commanding silence and maintains a dreamy haze of acoustic guitar and remarkable vocals.

The album also features the trance-inducing “I Would Like To Kiss Everyone,” a bonus track tucked at the end of a near-two minute span of silence on the record.

Rose is currently touring to support her latest release. Be sure to check out her official website which lists upcoming dates and venues and also offers additional songs to download. You’ll also find her personal blog, which Rose seems to update fairly frequently.

Through her earlier beginnings as one of the Gypsy Moths and the many songs she has written along the way, Rose is finally set to emerge as a fully fluttering butterfly – young and vibrant with a life full of beautiful songs she has yet to write. - Girlysounds


"If a bottle of champagne could sing, it would sound a lot like Raina Rose: positively effervescent, sparkling with youthful enthusiasm- she's a joy!"
- Tracy Grammer

"quote 2"

"You're awesome, Raina. thanks for carrying the torch, and for being so badass at it. At the last PSA capo workshop I gave, I asked who knew you and they all nodded. "Oh yeah. We know her. She sure knows how to mistreat a guitar." - Randall Williams

"blog quote"

"The fact of the matter is that, like Paul Simon after Simon and Garfunkel, Raina Rose has the strength to stand alone, performing music she's written, and her audiences will sit up and take notice." - Linsel Greene

"Willamette Week"

"Raina Rose is a vocal and guitar powerhouse"
-Jeff Rosenberg, Willamette Week - Jeff Rosenberg

"Performing Songwriter top 12 DIY May '09"

End of Endless False Starts
performing songwriter magazine

Raina Rose’s new disc, End of Endless False Starts, features some fine acoustic-guitar picking from this Austin-based artist and, with its rootsy undercurrent, will certainly perk the ears of folk-pop enthusiasts. But its collection of musical novellas is really what sets this album apart from Rose’s singer-songwriter contemporaries, as these 12 stories enrapture the listener from first play.

Rose’s vocal style, a mix of Kasey Chambers’ country twang (“Desire”) and Shawn Colvin’s girlish tone (“Air and Water”), serves as a fine vehicle to relay each vivid tale. Her melodies unleash a torrent of words, and her highly visual sonic portraits run long, sometimes up to six minutes, like the slow-burning, moody “Misaligned Tires.”

End of Endless False Starts requires the listener to tap the brakes and tune in. It’s not mindless, groove-oriented stuff here, so an appreciation for poetry is a prerequisite. —LCB
- Performing Songwriter

"Jonathan Byrd"

"You jumped on every song like a cat, broke my heart, made me laugh and I knew that I could brag about you to anyone and feel completely justified." - Byrd


Caldera (2013)
When May Came (2010)- Constant Clip Records
Blackwater EP (2009)- Self-Released
End of Endless False Starts (2009)- Self-Released
The Prophet, The Panhandler and The Moon (2007)- Self-Released
Despite the Crushing Weight of Gravity (2005)- Self-Released
The Gypsy Moths feat. Raina Rose and Meredith Cushing (2002)- Self-Released



As the second daughter of a country music historian and a Jewish poet, Americana musician and songwriter Raina Rose revels in sharing with you her beautifully twisted, yet refreshingly optimistic perspective on the world. Her unique voice and exceptional guitar playing transcend age, gender, generation, and even catch the ears of those who aren't typically into acoustic guitar-driven songwriting. With a naturalist's eye, an artist's pen, and a lion's attack, Raina lays everything she has on the line; she makes you feel as if she's your best friend whispering a honeysuckle-sweet secret in your ear, warmly inviting you into a joyfully intimate and darkly candid conversation. It's that ability to forge her own path in the world of music that sets Raina apart from her contemporaries, and her “no holds barred, lay it on the line” brand of Americana that secures Raina’s place in music history as more than a mere footnote or a passing trend.

Born in Reagan-era Los Angeles, Raina moved to Portland, OR with her family in 1988. Growing up in a house alive with ‘60s pop and good ole' fashioned country music, Raina was given a guitar at age eleven and sent around the corner for lessons. By the time she hit high school—attending the same school as Elliott Smith and Matt Groening—Raina more often than not shined classes to write heart-wrenching teenage love songs in Portland's lush, green public parks. Upon graduating, Raina moved to the Oregon coast and taught environmental science to youngsters while basking in the majestic silence of 500 acres of ancient forest and foggy beachfront. It was the blissful solitude of this Thoreau-ian lifestyle that made Raina realize she wanted to make music for people, to sing for a living.

With the rain-soaked earth and woodsmoke still dancing in Raina’s heart and wafting into each of her songs, Raina returned to Portland to record The Gypsy Moths (2003), a collaboration between Raina and her longtime best friend, Meredith Cushing. The band was a series of hilarious mishaps and beautiful harmonies; but time always marches on, and sometimes bands don't. In 2006, Raina released her first solo record, Despite the Weight of Crushing Gravity, a stunning debut produced by Jim Brunberg at Portland-based Mississippi Studios. The album received rave reviews and quickly propelled Raina into demand on the US touring circuit. Raina's 2007 sophomore effort, The Prophet, The Panhandler, and The Moon, is a lovely, lilting, country-esque record, complete with fiddle & accordion and featuring such master musicians as guitarist Tony Furtado and bassist Will Amend. Its release came hot off the heels of Raina’s earning finalist honors in the 2007 Kerrville Folk Festival new folk competition. Her third album, End of Endless False Starts, released in 2009 and produced by Los Angeles based songwriting savant, John Elliott, was yet another critically acclaimed collection of original songs, selected as one of Performing Songwriter magazine’s “Top 12 DIY picks.” In 2010, Raina released her most recent album, When May Came, her most intimate and incendiary album to date. Recorded live and with a full band over four sweltering September days in Austin, TX, the album was a journey into uncharted realms of creativity—and the result was an incredibly soulful and lyrically potent collection of songs that reviewers have celebrated. Redefine Magazine declared that the album “will surprise you with its cohesion and simplicity. Between her big voice, with its unusual blend of twang and jazziness, and her whimsical sense of storytelling, Rose is definitely not just another boring indie folk songstress.”

Raina has toured relentlessly for the better part of the last five years, supporting such acts as Jill Sobule, The Bacon Brothers, and Tracy Grammer, and sharing the stage with contemporaries such as John Elliott, Rebecca Loebe, Jonathan Byrd, Anais Mitchell, AJ Roach, and Anthony da Costa. Her travels have taken her everywhere across the USA and Europe, including such venues and gigs as the High Sierra Music Festival, Club Passim (Boston, MA), and The Birchmere (Alexandria, VA). And you can bet that she’ll be coming to a town near you very soon, guitar in hand, ready to reveal a beautifully wild moment and reach a new depth inside of you through her intensely honest music and words.

"The former Portlander has been turning heads for several years now, with her clear, almost delicate voice and storyteller’s soul. With a new album coming out in February, a rapidly growing pile of accolades and a seemingly endless tour on the books, it won’t be long before she’s no longer our little secret." -- Barbara Mitchell, The Oregonian

"Raina Rose is a vocal and guitar powerhouse."
-- Jeff Rosenberg, Willamette Week

"The fact of the matter is that, like Paul Simon after Simon and Garfunkel, Raina Rose has the strength to stand alone, performing music she's written, and her audiences will sit up and take notice