Folkies and I don’t usually get along. If it’s a guy, I usually want to shake them, pull on their scraggly beard, and tell them to lighten up. If the artist is female, and cute, I’ll generally pay a bit closer attention, focusing more on how great it would be to date a musician and have her mention me in the liner notes ala High Fidelity than the music. I’m just being honest . . . the music generally doesn’t do it for me. It takes some hard-bitten honesty of the Ryan Adams, Paul Westerberg, or Jay Farrar songbook to make me buy into it. I saw Haroula Rose a few months ago at a singer/songwriter showcase in L.A., and all my old prejudices and cynicisms were firmly in place. A tiny thing, she demurely approached the microphone and smiled, and as she strummed her way through selections from debut album These Open Roads, I found myself getting lost in her homespun tales of heartache, wanderlust, and rebirth, delivered with delicate, honeyed innocence. I was, and remain, enchanted.
Rose strikes the right balance between sweet and bitter, and by favoring sweet, her sometimes biting lyrics go down a lot easier and never feel melodramatic. Her voice is perfectly suited for Top 40, but her sensibilities and sense of humor (see Question #2) seem better suited to small venues than cavernous halls. With recently lauded performances at SXSW, TV placements (How I Met Your Mother, The Lying Game) and new EP So Easy on the way with full length to follow, Rose seems to be doing everything right, winning over cynics like me one show at a time.