“Al Rose is a striking songwriter and musician with a unique and powerful vision that continues with his eight and latest release (2022), Again the Beginner.” His previous albums have received extensive airplay on AAA and Americana stations throughout the US along with a bevy of critical praise. He is a mesmerizing transformer when performing live as a solo or with any number of his band, The Transcendos, in any configuration. This drives the songs each night, but the songs have always been what drives the musicians in what The Chicago Tribune has called “one audaciously entertaining ride”.
Al’s musical soul rose early. Studying flute from 4th grade until losing interest in high school, he picked up an old guitar collecting dust in the basement and became obsessed, not as a guitarist, but as a songwriter and singer. Soon came the college coffeehouse gigs and rock bands including a critical and personally satisfying stint as co-leader of Chicago based Buffalo Trout. With fevered pitch and hearty focus, Rose formed The Transcendos: his true point of embarkation. Flexibly powerful, from dada gospel to caffeinated pick; explosive rhythm to sparest hush; swampy improv groove to country shine, the ‘Cendos nail them to the wall.
The songs bloomed with Rose’s stream of metaphor lyrics connecting our disjointed artifacts of life. A slice of life in a traffic jam. Raindrops on the basil baked on the setting sun with a slow low rise style. His word sculptures enlighten the random moment telescoping and microscoping a personal sky where the knives wait to cut and eyes adjust to the dark, open wide.
Rose has always approached the recording process by serving the song and, working with Grammy-winning co-producer and engineer Blaise Barton, Al has previously released six stunning discs: Information Overload (1994), Naked In A Trailer (1996), Pigeon’s Throat (2000), Gravity Of Crow (2003), My First Posthumous Release (2008) and Sad Go Lucky (2012). Each stands alone. In series they expose Al’s evolving habit of craft. It’s so easy to hear the time and care, the patience and skill, the garlic and wine that went into the work. Listen.
Al’s wild ride spontaneous live shows, whether solo, full band, or configuration in between, coast and roll you inside out. You know the way a surprisingly loud crackly fire manages to give off a warm, steady glow? Yeah.