Breathtakingly beautiful and intimately inspiring, Caoilfhionn Rose’s sophomore album ‘Truly’ is absolutely stunning: A moving alt-folk tempest surging with a fiery passion that comes from deep within.
for fans of Phoebe Bridgers, Malena Zavala, Julian Baker
Stream: “To Me” – Caoilfhionn Rose
A record of healing and connection, recovery and self-discovery, Caoilfhionn Rose’s sophomore album is as gentle, soft, and unassuming as it is absolutely stunning: A moving alt-folk tempest surging with a fiery passion that comes from deep within. Breathtakingly beautiful and intimately inspiring, Truly stirs the heartstrings as the Manchester singer/songwriter spreads her wings and soars on a stirring plunge into her own soul’s haunting, poignant, and utterly dazzling depths.
It’s an eleven-track immersion of harmony-laden sound and nuanced emotion that leaves listeners breathless and hungry for more.
So much to envisage
So much to understand
If it’s too complicated
If it didn’t go to plan
Let it flow away
Let it turn around
Let it slip away
‘Till it can grow a little more
– “Flourish,” Caoilfhionn Rose
Released April 9, 2021 via Gondwana Records, Truly arrives exactly two and a half years after Caoilfhionn (pronounced “Keelin”) Rose first introduced herself on 2018’s affecting Awaken. In true sophomore album form, Truly builds upon much of what the British artist established on her debut – and yet, her new album is so rich in feeling and sound, that it feels much like its own cathartic “awakening” – a realization of talent, hard work, and a vision.
“Truly was pieced together gradually – it’s a collection of old and new songs,” Caoilfhionn Rose tells Atwood Magazine. “Some of them were started years ago (even before my first album Awaken), and I revisited and reworked them with my band. The making of the album was interrupted by a period of illness where I was hospitalised for several months. During my recovery, I slowly worked on finishing the album, which felt difficult after so much time out, but ultimately it was really helpful and positive.”
Describing her new music as “hopeful, vibrant, and vivid,” Rose embraced a world of new ideas, lyrically and musically, on her second full-length. Encompassing folk, jazz, psychedelia, rock, electronica, ambient music, and more, Truly (co-produced by Kier Stewart of The Durutti Column) is expansive, yet cohesive; a diverse embrace of sound and style capturing not only a wealth of substance, but also sheer feeling.
“I just allowed it to unfold and take shape naturally; I didn’t really have a concept in mind,” Rose explains. “I’ve realised that there’s so much music to be made and explored which really excites me. I used to write songs mostly as a therapeutic processes, where I’d be venting feelings and recounting past events in my life but with ‘Truly’ I started to see that music can be there for you in other ways. It’s good to be reflective and there are some introspective songs lingering on this record but I also tried to present a more positive perspective and look a lot more outwardly when writing.”
It shows my curiosity and energy for music and for life. I’m keen to learn more and keep developing my sound and artistry, and ‘Truly’ is a stepping stone in that exploration. It’s an honest and hopeful collection of songs, with a lot of care, love and thought gone into it.
Flowing all around through the rivers and streams
Weaving through forest, whistling in the breeze
To me, to me
Carried by the wind through the dusty streets
Remnants all around, people yet to meet
To meet, to meet
To me… To me
– “To Me,” Caoilfhionn Rose
For Rose, the album title – named after the record’s ninth track – captures much of what the overall album means to her. “It’s the name of one of the songs on the record,” she explains. “When I was working on the song Truly, I recorded myself as I wrote it. I was singing along as I played the beautiful harmonium instrument and it was such a release. I didn’t record it with the intention of it being on an album; I was just enjoying the moment, free from worry – which I think really encompasses what I’m trying to get across with the whole record.”
That raw energy and heart-on-sleeve sentiment come to bear in Truly‘s very first moments – on opening tracks “Flourish” and “To Me,” both of which resonate with a warm wash of colorful, effected guitars and buoyant, full-bodies harmonies. Rose continues her journey from the hypnotic “Tubercular Skies” through to “Fireflies,” a wondrous and wistful embrace of travels come and gone, and special moments past.
“I have been on several busking trips around Europe with my friends,” Rose shares. “They have all been memorable, challenging and special. In the song ‘Fireflies’ I’m remembering my first time traveling in particular being in a campsite in Nice, France which became filled with fireflies at night. To me, ‘Fireflies’ has a nostalgic and comforting feel. It’s about feeling hopeful about the future ‘though there may be dark clouds the sun will always come’… The song is about acknowledging the past and moving on as ‘time is always healing’.”
Rose cites “Fireflies” as having some of her favorite lyrics on the whole album – a “sort of note to self,” she adds.
Free from all the chaos
it’s how you choose to dream
free from your past
time is always
But Truly is far from a one-trick pony; throughout its thirty-five minute run are spectacular moments of joy and sorrow, pain and healing all set to an enthralling array of ethereal, mellow, light and lilting wonder. Rose’s voice shines front and center in every track – whether reflecting strength or fragility, her presence fills the room with light.
A particularly special highlight comes forth it the buoyant, majestic melodies of “Every Waking Minute” – a gorgeous soundtrack to inner reckoning and self-growth that rises and falls with the elegance of waves on the ocean. “Sometimes things just don’t make any sense,” Rose sings sweetly, “It’s better to be honest than to pretend. Who are you? Do you know yet? Feel every waking minute, let go of regret…“
Rose cites the hearty “Paths” – a bustling number full of churning, smoldering piano and rolling drums – as her personal favorite. “The song ‘Paths’ has a great energy and drive to it,” she says. “It’s always a fun song to play with the band and it carries a positive message of looking forwards to the future and not giving up.”
I can’t be dark
You don’t always end up on the path that you want
so don’t give up, no don’t give up
I can’t be dark
You don’t always recognize the person you are
so don’t give up, no don’t give up
But if a listener’s ears are open, they’ll find meaning and an expressive weight in every one of Caoilfhionn Rose’s tracks.
“It’s a lovely feeling getting lost in music,” she reflects. “I hope listeners will be immersed in it and enjoy and resonate with the music and lyrics. This album marks a difficult time of my life, but I also see it as a turning point. I’m really keen to keep making music and I’ve learnt a lot from creating Truly.”
A spellbinding expression of self, Truly is as much Caoilfhionn Rose’s spiritual expression of self as it is a work of artistic growth, exploration, and achievement. Heartfelt and graceful, buoyed by a refreshing verve and soaring vocal performances brimming with emotion, Truly‘s beauty is unmatched.
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Caoilfhionn Rose’s Truly with Atwood Magazine as the singer/songwriter goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her sophomore LP!
Truly is out now on Gondwana Records.
Stream: ‘Truly’ – Caoilfhionn Rose
:: Inside Truly ::
The song ‘Flourish’ is about looking forwards with hope and possibility, ‘let it flow away, let it turn around and flourish’. It’s about finding peace and feeling wonder again.
In a lot of the lyrics I have written (especially in my first album ‘Awaken’) I am often looking backwards and reflecting on things that have happened in the past. This has been helpful and a therapeutic thing to do but I really wanted to be more positive and share a different message in the song ‘Flourish’ and a lot of the songs on my new album ‘Truly’.
‘Flourish’ hints at the ideas of what could be, how things can unfold if you let go ‘and just be here’.
This song is about feeling a connection with nature and life. I love going on long walks and the healing power of nature is a recurring theme in a lot of my lyrics. I have a very optimistic outlook and I find solace in the small things like being outdoors. I worked on this song a lot when I was away in the Suffolk countryside.
A lot of the lyrics came about through improvising over a guitar part by band member Rich Williams. I tried not to over think or complicate the words. It’s a peaceful tune about noticing everything that is happening around you.
The title was inspired by a line in Alan Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’. I liked the moody imagery it evoked of a stormy almost unwell looking sky. The song is about moving away from the past, ‘wade through your mind, leaving behind what’s holding you back from being you’. It’s about a change of mindset, trying to feel more comfortable in yourself as things will ‘heal in time’.
I have been on several busking trips around Europe with my friends. They have all been memorable, challenging and special. In the song ‘Fireflies’ I’m remembering my first time traveling in particular being in a campsite in Nice, France which became filled with fireflies at night.
To me ‘Fireflies’ has a nostalgic and comforting feel. I tried to be playful with the lyrics remembering ‘the fireflies dancing’. It’s about feeling hopeful about the future ‘though there may be dark clouds the sun will always come’. There are references of older lyrics I have written. The line ‘free from all the chaos’ is a nod to a song I collaborated on with The Durutti Column. The song is about acknowledging the past and moving on as ‘time is always healing’.
Every Waking Minute
Every Waking Minute is a gentle song about staying present and taking each day as it comes. The line ‘we forget what lies behind the eyes’ is about remembering that everyone has their own things going on and challenges to face but we should ‘feel every waking minute’ become aware of what’s unfolding around us outside our of own stories. It’s a reflective song really and is a reminder ‘life can take you by surprise’ there are going to be ups and downs along the way.
Point In Time
This song was written whilst I was away traveling a few years ago. It was a rainy day in Heidelberg, Germany and I sat down to write and record this song in my van. It’s about revisiting painful memories and how difficult that can be, ’I can’t paint the story any more’. Even though it’s a song about looking back, there are seedlings of hope with lines like ‘there must be some kind of resolution’.
The Readiness Is All
Inspired by a conversation with Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column where he was talking about friends he had lost during his life. It was the first song Rich Williams (the guitarist in my band) and I started to collaborate on and almost made it onto the first album. In the end it didn’t seem to fit with that body of work but it found a place on ‘Truly’.
This song is about navigating through life and acknowledging difficulties we face; ‘you don’t always end up the path that you want’. It’s about life going in different directions that don’t always seem like the best or easiest routes ‘but don’t give up’. Overall this song is about determination and resilience.
Truly is a personal and meditative song. Initially I wasn’t writing it with the intention of it being on an album or even really sharing it at all. It was like a stream of consciousness as I improvised singing whilst playing the harmonium. The recording is very raw and intimate. It’s about opening up, concentrating on what’s important in life and letting go which are running themes throughout the album.
Hold Your Own
The title of ‘Hold Your Own’ was inspired by Kae (formerly Kate) Tempest’s book of poetry of the same name. It’s a song about finding inner strength and trying to move away from insecurity and self-doubt.
All That Light
I recorded All That Light as I was writing it. It’s a very personal and fragile song about a friend. I sing ‘flickers of light, rays of hope, who will know which way to turn?’ It’s a song about uncertainty of the future but also a message to my friends that ‘I’m always here even when you don’t see’.
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📸 © Emily Dennison
:: Stream Caoilfhionn Rose ::