Stacy Rock has the kind of pipes that could carry high-pressure steam if they weren’t carrying a tune. Her alto vocals resonate with strength and polish on One Way Home, the Montana native/NYC-transplant’s debut album.
Rock is almost always telling a tale. Boss-y tunes like “The Lifeline of Jim” come full of hammered piano chords and grandiose swells in service of a time-honored storyline about a fellow’s date with the end of a rope. Such straightforward storytelling vies with less literal offerings like “The Bad Girl,” a song that supplies illustrative images—“I held the apple on my head and then I lifted up my skirt,” for instance—with metaphorical rather than narrative import.
My favorite moment comes in “Whiskey & Bourbon,” a bluesy shuffle about the two brown liquors and “some old fashioned yearnin’,” in which Rock sings, “Love me sweetly…Love me neatly.” It’s one more nifty piece of wordplay on an album that delights in lyricism.
Somewhere during the course of One Way Home, you’ll wonder who’s the whiz on the piano. It’s Rock, tickling the ivories with the same sensual skill in her fingers as her voice. (Jason Wiener)
Stacy Rock opens for Casey Neill Friday, April 20 at the Crystal Theatre. $10 / $8 advance at Rockin Rudy’s.