Austin Artists with Fresh Music for Spring
Caroline Rose, Deezie Brown, Zach Person and David Ramirez are on our radar
By Kahron Spearman
Without question, vocalist/guitarist Zach Person looks and sounds like the “next big thing,” made evident with “Can’t Stop Running,” a white-hot blues/pop burner. The single led to a self-titled EP, an all-too-brief affair, blending Delta slide blues, desert-dusted rock and traditional R&B foundations with thoughtfully placed electronics. Obvious comparisons to Lenny Kravitz and Gary Clark Jr. aside, the former American Idol contestant aims to make his mark, starting with his full-length debut for BlackDenim Records, slated for April 2021.
Born in Long Island, New York, Austin resident Caroline Rose described her character-driven fourth studio album, Superstar, to Newsweek: “I think it was important for me to be honest about certain things that I’m kind of ashamed of, or embarrassed by in my life. I realized that it makes for a better story if I turn into a character and make it more like a movie.” Tongue firmly planted in cheek, the persona pursues a satirical glitz-pop hero’s journey with indie leanings, tinged with Chaka Khan/Rufus-flavored R&B (“Got to Go My Own Way”) and ’80s pop drench (“Feel the Way I Want” and “Someone New”).
“You also have to have that other person, like a partner in crime,” future Hall of Fame hooper turned producer Chris Bosh shared with Complex back in October about up-and-coming star Deezie Brown’s breakthrough on the Bosh-produced I Want It All. “Dr. Dre had Snoop and Eminem. Your favorite producer always had that artist they worked with.” Brown, the multitalented Bastrop native, isn’t easy to square with his melodic mashup of Texas slab flows, André 3000–esque bar play and penchant for the unconventional. Alongside rap comrade EC Mayne, Brown released the drippy Candy Blue Like Screw, a tribute to the sound and foundation laid by Houston legend DJ Screw.
On “My Love Is a Hurricane,” the title track of singer-songwriter David Ramirez’s gorgeous and tortured fifth full-length album, the Houston native wrenches: “You were expecting a sweet rain / You got hit with the hurricane / Dark clouds, heavy debris / I know what it’s like to love me.” Ramirez’s penchant for amorous self-flagellation on “Hurricane” stems from a sentimental doom centered around his 1983 birth, occurring days following Hurricane Alicia’s landfall. With the great storm as romantic metaphor, Ramirez walks even further from his folk foundations, as his potent anxieties now play in full over a lush amalgam of indie, R&B and gospel flourishes.