There are so many different kinds of medicine that help us stay alive. Pills, in a multitude of shapes and sizes, keep our body chemistry in check and various natural elements can aide in our overall wellbeing too. For Asheville, North Carolina-based singer-songwriter Alexa Rose, the strongest, most vital medicine for living is love.
On her debut LP Medicine for Living, Rose mulls over love and most of the time it’s as bitter as extra strength cough medicine. On the swinging tune “Like a Child,” for instance, Rose is trying to rebound from a broken heart and describes how burdensome love can be: “I used to think that love was always kind / I used to think it was a steady flow / I used to think I was ahead of my time / but I was swimming with the undertow.” And then on “Red Balloon,” Rose heartbreakingly wails, “You said that you loved somebody else / Oh, babe, I just can’t understand.”
But in rare, miraculous moments, love goes down smooth: “Tried and True” is about how fortifying love can be when a relationship is healthy, and, although it examines the end of a relationship, the magnificent title track feels like a testament to how life-affirming falling in and out of love is.
Musically, Medicine for Living ranges from soft, introverted folk songs (“The Last Wildflower”; “Untitled No. 47”) to fuller band tracks (“Like a Child”; “The Leaving Kind”) that would sound good on a Saturday night. “Fine Tooth Comb,” in particular, is a catchy and lively sounding number that moves like the butterflies in your stomach do as you embark on a new adventure.
No matter the musical style, Rose is the anchor of Medicine for Living. Her multidimensional voice is familiar and yet totally her own. She twangs and croons, tumbles and soars. It’s the voice of somebody who has loved and lost and has stories to tell about it all.