Interview: Traditional Country Rockers Emily Rose & The Rounders Discuss Painful Triumphs On New Self-Titled Album

“Classic country stylings with a little dose of heartbreak, a little bit of sweetness, and always a small helping of mischief.”

When most people think of L.A, *real* country music isn’t necessarily the first thing to come to mind. But that’s what makes saddling up with Emily Rose and the Rounders a ride to remember.

Even though they’re city slickers, the group prides themselves on their “regular, steady diet of traditional country music” with favorites being Patsy Cline, Dwight Yoakam, and George Jones for starters. 

Through the music of their new self-titled LP – which dropped February 25th – Emily Rose and The Rounders give the phrase, “learning to dance in the rain,” a whole new meaning. Music can be healing and therapeutic, and this could not be more true for frontwoman Emily Rose.

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Rose and her band faced many challenges and changes during the creation of the LP, including good old fashioned relationship heartbreak, children being born, the loss of two precious pets, and most tragically, grieving the end of bandmate Jordan Edwards’ battle with cancer. Nevertheless, she and the band persisted the only way they knew how, and the result is an 8-track album full of palpable feeling and soul through country music.

Rose chatted with us in detail about the new album, what’s to come, and how we can all have something to sing about during the toughest times.

So what’re the roots and origins of Emily Rose & The Rounders?

Hmmm….the origins….I think I would say the seeds of the band were planted when some of my friends and I started jamming on country covers at our practice space. It was almost more like a country appreciation society and a drinking club at the time, and we called ourselves the Kickers. One of the Kickers and I started messing around with writing our own songs, and it turned into the band I had before the Rounders, and then eventually the Rounders.  

So your new album is finally out in the world. Can you describe how you feel/felt in the final moments leading up to the big release?

Releasing this record has been really hard, and so there’s been a lot of mixed emotions. We recorded this a few years ago, but had some personal struggles within the band and had to redo some tracks… it took forever to come out. I feel like these songs are super old at this point for me, but I felt like it was really important to have them recorded and released, especially since our drummer, Jordan Edwards, who passed away, is on the tracks. I’m really happy to have him on here. I’m proud of the way this turned, out so I’m excited for people to hear it and hopefully enjoy it.     

Was there a particular track that was the hardest to write or record whether it be emotionally or otherwise?

Some of these songs have been painful to sing and write and record at different times… the songs sort of change their meaning as time goes on, but I think “Do Right” always feels very emotional to me no matter what. That song is a damn heartbreaker any way you slice it.

Are there any overarching themes or motifs throughout the album?

I think there are a few…there’s a lot of heartbreak and nihilism, but also a sense of humor about it, and definitely a call to harness your own power, thrive on independence, and do what you want to do.

Where was it produced and who helped it come to life?

We made this record in LA at Station House in Echo Park with our friend Mark Rains. He’s great, he’s very patient and encouraging and has a hearty love of country music, so he really was important in getting this thing done. 

Do you find determining the order of songs on the album to be a challenge? What made you choose “Static Sky” and “A Horse Without A Rider” as bookends?

We’ve traditionally started our sets out with “Static Sky,” so we figured the record should start that way too. “A Horse Without A Rider” was recorded when it was almost totally new in the studio, and the band was close to unfamiliar with it when we recorded it, so it just kind of seemed like something that should close out the record. The sequence was more about feel than anything else. 

What are one or two pinnacle moments for you as an artist?

As a Rounder? I think our pinnacle moments are just playing live… it’s a very emotional project to be honest, so our shows can be really intense, the energy of the crowd coming back at us, the catharsis of playing these songs and singing and dancing and yelling and laughing or whatever you need to do in the moment. A lot of our shows have been really special to me, and are kind of the standout moments for me. 

If you could ask one question to one of your idols, what would it be and to whom?

I would ask Waylon Jennings to have a drink with me!  

What might fans expect from Emily Rose & The Rounders post-album release?

We are going to go right back into the studio hopefully and record some newer material with Mark! The songs on this new record are so old, I’m excited to work on some newer material, specifically the stuff I was writing during the pandemic. Some of the stuff we’re about to record has a little bit more of a country/soul vibe and there are some sort of Lynchian/Sanford Clark influenced country songs… I’m excited to get that all on wax.

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