September 21, 2023
Nalani Rothrock – The Rock House Sessions (Extended Cut)

Nalani Rothrock – The Rock House Sessions (Extended Cut)

Jolani Music Group

9 Tracks – 36 minutes

Tampa Bay, Florida native Nalani Rothrock has always been involved in music, first performing at age 8 and joining her father’s band at age 12.  She met her co-writer and partner, Joshua Lamkin, in 2011. Prior to the pandemic, the two relocated to Nashville. Upon arrival, she met Kevin McKendree, the owner of The Rock House Studios in Franklin, Tennessee. Kevin quickly agreed to record an album for her. But shortly after starting, the pandemic hit, and everything was shut down. She had three songs recorded at that point which she subsequently released in 2021 as an EP, The Rock House Sessions.  As the emergency settled down, she found herself back in the studio and recorded six more songs. They transferred the original three into an album with the new six additions which they titled The Rock House Sessions (Extended Cut). 

Kevin McKendree produced and played keyboards on the album. Nalani sang and Joshua played the guitar. Kevin then brought in additional musicians to fill out the sound. Steve Mackey was added on bass, Lynn Williams and Kenneth Blevins played drums on various tracks; Bryan Brock provided percussion, Andrew Carney played trumpet, and backing vocals were provided by Nicole Boggs, Jonell Mosser, and Jackie Wilson.

The all-original songs weave through lines of blues, jazz, soul and country. Nalani’s vocals have been compared to Norah Jones, Susan Tedeschi, and Bonnie Raitt. The album opens with “Every Time I Close My Eyes”, which will certainly bring to mind the latter singer. Joshua’s reverb guitar mixes with Kevin’s organ as Nalani searches for answers. “Fool For You” is a bluesy laid back love song about a broken relationship with an acoustic guitar, a light piano, and Andrew Carney’s lounge-like trumpet floating through.

“Just Before I Go” jumps to full rock ‘n’ roll and she notes “It is so hard to play it cool, why can’t we get our love out into the open air?” “Hold On” moves back into a slow, smooth soul groove with Kevin’s organ again leading the way. She asks “How Long” “do I have to wait, Darling…I can’t keep living like this?” in another rocking, soulful number.

“Midnight” opens with a memory as she crawled into bed and her “…heart wants to bring you back you back home…and I want to have your body to hold.” Joshua’s guitar offers a smooth roll through the song.  On “Goodbye”, she cries “I miss you so much it hurts.”  “Try” has a definite country feel to it without losing the blues. Nalani begs him “I don’t care if the mountain is too high. Don’t you want to try?” and Joshua provides some nice slide guitar into the mix. The album closes with Joshua’s slide guitar leading into a bluesy lullaby from Nalani on “Little Bird” as she asks the bird to teach her how to sing.

Nalani’s vocals are never less than exquisite on any of the songs. Admirers of the aforementioned female vocalists should certainly enjoy and be mesmerized by Nalani’s smooth vocal delivery.

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