Chelle Rose, Ghost Of Browder Holler

Published on May 1st, 2012 in: Current Faves, Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Kai Shuart

ghost of browder holler

Ghost Of Browder Holler is the latest release from Chelle Rose, and was recorded using the contributions of many. The album is the product of a bunch of musicians gathering around the table and deciding which of Rose’s songs they wanted to record. Yet for all the collaborative efforts, Ghost Of Browder Holler is extremely cohesive, giving the feeling that the primary artistic voice is Chelle Rose’s alone.

Speaking of voices, so much has been made of Chelle Rose’s vocals (which are indeed a blend of Courtney Love at her most powerful and guttural as well as Lucinda Williams at her most twangy) that with this review I’d like to put more focus on the atmosphere of the album, because it is so rare that an album is deeply rooted in a specific geographical location (in this case Rose’s native Loudon County, Tennessee) and yet feels so universal.

A prime example of this is the track “Browder Holler Boy,” in which a protagonist mourns the loss of a lover to alcoholism. Even though many can probably relate to the song’s sadness, it still has a slow, dark, muggy atmosphere that would not seem out of place in a Faulkner novel. Lyrics about ghosts, combined with slow, winding acoustic slide guitars let the listener know that, in this particular part of America, the dead don’t sleep any more easily than their living counterparts.

Even though inhabited by troubled ghosts, Rose makes Browder Holler a place that is nonetheless inviting and a whole lot of fun. In the raucous “Alimony,” she revels in taking a hefty divorce settlement from an ex who went city-slicker. Immediately afterward, the protagonist takes the money and runs back to her country roots, where, as the lyric says, she can “make some noise with her boys.”

OK, so Browder Holler is a fictional stand-in for her native Loudon County, Tennessee, but if this is what Chelle Rose’s hometown is like, then pour me a shot and a beer, because I’m staying a while.

Ghost Of Browder Holler is out today on Lil’ Damsel Records. It is available to order through the Chelle Rose website.

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