The Painted Roses
The Sad Man
The Painted Roses = Hank Williams + Hiss Golden Messenger
The Painted Roses sound like the ghosts that haunt the back roads of America, kicking up dust in those somehow still relevant back alley juke joints. They play a clean, hollow echo that sounds perfect. It’s beautiful, immediate and alive like punk rock. Their songs are flawlessly arranged, as they’re controlled and sloppy at the same time. The Painted Roses have tapped into that drowzy, hung over, slow roll of an old western song that sounds both cathartic and sad. It’s like waking up on a Sunday morning to find Saturday’s love fading out.
Cole Stocker (guitars/vocals), Jack Hogan (bass/vocals) and Jeff Thompson (drums) play these windswept blues to perfection on their new EP, The Sad Man. What I love about these songs is that I can feel the toxins of bad decisions, hard living and broken hearts being forced out of every pore. “Can’t seem to find the reason, nor the time / To be the lover you want me to be / I seen that film, I know how it ends,” Stocker sings on “Try To Take It Easy.” “I try to take it slow / I know you’re trying to leave me / But honey, I just can’t go.” The broken heart amplifies on the haunting track “Birds Of A Feather, Nevermore.” “I love this town I do / Often times I hate it too / See my breath freeze in the morning air / See them ghost stories turn true.” The track is a kick in the gut as it’s a familiar story of a love not coming back. The song ends quietly and dims out with a desolate piano.
It’s not that we don’t have answers to why love is leaving on these tracks—we do. On the opening track “Reckless,” we get a sense of that caustic behavior. The selfishness of a line like: “I’ve got a life to live outside your sheets.” And a warning coming from another: “You can be whatever you wanna / Just as long as you don’t want to be like me.” This opening track gives me the introduction to know how the rest of the songs play out. I know how the story ends. “Road hard and put away wetted,” Stoker sings. “Road scars and faded saddles.” The characters in these songs are not about to change their travelin’ ways. Hearts will continue to break. I hope they do, because it makes for great songs and The Painted Roses know how to write them. –Russ Holsten