Photo by Jen Hellow
“Songs used to be the way that people remembered their histories,” says singer-songwriter Raina Rose. “And now I feel like this is the way people are figuring out their futures.” The quote comes from a feature-length documentary called FOLK, chronicling how Rose and other folk singers make their way in today’s musical climate. And for Rose, her past, present, and future is tied up with her own music.
Born to a country music historian and Jewish poet, various folk strains have flowed through her veins since she could remember. Portland, Oregon’s lush surroundings made a large impression on her, and after high school, she moved to the coast and taught environmental science to kids. But like many in the folk tradition, Rose always had an itch to hit the road and bring her music to as many people as possible. After a stint in the folk duo the Gypsy Moths, Rose struck out on her own, eventually settling down in Austin.
Yet “settling down” doesn’t suit Rose well. Over the past half-decade, the singer perfectly embodied folk’s do-it-yourself ethos, self-releasing five albums, including her latest, Caldera. Perhaps more impressive is her tour itinerary: Rose travels nearly full-time with her husband (bassist Andrew Pressman) and her eighteen-month-old son. Last summer alone, she logged nearly 10,000 miles with her family, and tonight she’s pulling into the Cactus Cafe to celebrate the release of Caldera. The record finds Rose’s hushed songwriting fully fleshed out with a strong, dynamic band. “Secret,” which kicks off the record, spotlights the singer’s jazz-influenced voice while the backing musicians color around the edges with piano and pedal steel.
Be sure to also check out Raina Rose’s recent live performance in KUTX’s Studio 1A.