Somehow, bluegrass virtuosos Mipso are yet to sell out their two hyper-intimate shows next Friday (12/17) and Saturday (12/18) at MilkBoy, even after in a recent interview with PHILTHY MAG fiddle player and vocalist Libby Rodenbough shared that each night would have its own unique set. In addition to Mipso planning to give the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection two different headlining performances, they have also divided up their current support acts, both of whom will surely make it well worth showing up early. 12/17 will see Alexa Rose handling opening duties, while on 12/18 Johanna Samuels will take the reins. And shortly after chatting with Libby I also got the chance to interview Alexa Rose, an Asheville-based singer/songwriter who, earlier this year, released her sophomore effort, Headwaters, arguably the year’s purest (if not best) Americana record, which was inspired by Rose’s time spent in isolation during quarantine, unable to connect with her fellow Americans at a time when it never seemed more important: “Recording during the pandemic gave the album a special spark. Everything was so uncertain in the world. Realizing this world we all built around our craft was precarious and could be taken away at any moment, there was a certain amount of presence I had in making Headwaters.”
Since Headwaters was released on September 17th, Rose has gotten a number of great responses to her second LP: “My mom really likes it [laughs]. I guess once you put the music out, it’s for everyone. Really, if anyone likes the record at all or connects with it at all, it means so much to me.” It’s also gotten positive responses from a few likely-more-familiar names: “Hiss Golden Messenger shouted it out and I’ll be touring with him next year… It’s an honor for anyone in the music world that I’m a fan of to like it.” Rose hopes to connect with even more people on these dates, which will kick off on February 3rd in Greenville, SC and take her all the way through to March 12th in Nashville. During our chat she tells me she’s been anticipating this lengthy run of dates ever since the opportunity arose: “I’m really excited to hit the road next year… I’m especially excited for Phoenix on Valentine’s Day. It seems like it’ll be a vibe to be in the Southwest on Valentine’s Day.” And as far as what fans (and fans of Mipso and Hiss Golden Messenger) can expect on Alexa Rose’s upcoming dates, she tells me that, in addition to the songs on Headwaters, there will be a handful of brand new songs, “That you can’t even get anywhere online.”
While Alexa Rose is far from a household name at this point, she has accomplished some pretty cool things, perhaps most notably a rather prestigious award in the world of Americana: “I think one of the biggest highlights was winning the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in 2019, right before [her debut] Medicine for Living came out. A lot of people I look up to have done that, like Gillian Welch.” But she tells me that the most important thing for fans, or anyone who comes across her music, to know is that, for all she’s done, it’s not something that she even has a background in.
“I just try to tell people a lot during interviews that I don’t know what I’m doing, and I try to be really transparent about that… I just try to connect with my audience and being able to do it all has been such a gift for me… I don’t have a background in music at all. I just found this as a way to express myself and I don’t know what I’m doing and if I can let other people who maybe don’t know what they’re doing in their field, I hope that can be helpful.”
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