Ynana Rose – Tea Leaf Confessions (review)

Ynana Rose – Tea Leaf Confessions (Ynana Rose Music)

Music for those of us who have lived and are still around to tell about it

California native Ynana Rose wrote her first song at the age of 37.  She’s used that wisdom of the years to her advantage in crafting her new album, Tea Leaf Confessions.  Rose possesses a husky voice that’s unique, yet inviting.  And, she’s surrounded herself with some of the finest musicians of her region.  The result is an album full of surprises.

The disc opens with “Stardust Firefly,” a rumination on aging, which features mandolin and an aching dobro.  The soulful “Hard Work of Love” is an honest look at a successful relationship, with the truthful words “I don’t need a symphony / just the right note will do.”

Another example of wisdom paving the way is “Thin White Line,” where a mother leaves at an early age.  Instead of holding on to the hurt, the daughter learns forgiveness, singing “the world will let you down / but as long as it’s spinning ‘round / you can choose which way to turn.”  

The playful “Sugar on the Vine” talks of leaving the city for the country, and the simple pleasures that it brings, while the gentle pounding beat of “Mendocino Sunrise” propels a song about being one with nature.

The lone cover, “I Want To Be With You Always,” is an old Lefty Frizzell song, and it’s given a traditional country treatment, complete with tasty fiddle and pedal steel.

The real strength of the album is its diversity.  “Impossible” is delightful Western swing complete with accordion, while the gentle, piano-led “Lillian” is an ode to Rose’s grandmother.

The greatest moment on the disc comes in “The Gift of a Song,” the true story of Rose playing music for a Hospice patient.  Her lyrics are so personal, you feel like you’re in the room with the two women, while the piano and gentle percussion echo the loneliness and closing of the days.

A diverse collection of songs that remains positive despite some heady subject matter, Tea Leaf Confessions is an enjoyable listen for those of us who have done some living of our own.  —Tony Peters