Last year, I spent Valentine’s Day sitting on the floor of a rundown duplex, listening to Harry Nillson covers of old love ballads with a man I was not in love with. He was not in love with me either, and when my personal favorite “Always” by Irving Berlin came on, I couldn’t help but stifle a laugh, as though I was about to run away from the great altar of a a superficially concocted Valentine’s.
This year, I will be spending Valentine’s Day listening to old love ballads presented by someone with whom I find much more compatibility- the multi-talented Caitlin Rose. As a singer, Caitlin Rose’s songs inspire refuge in a universal sentiment, much like the last lines of a classic book or the montages in the apex of a film. She conjures a sense of collectivity by matching the descriptive storytelling of cinematic realities with the fickle states of our grainiest emotions. Tomorrow night, at her first-annual Red Violet Valentine’s, Caitlin Rose and a slew of powerhouse guests (Jessie Baylin, Derek Hoke, Tristen, Reno Bo, Luella Wood, Courtney Jaye, Kurt Wagner and Justin Collins) will be singing an arrangement of 30’s to 50’s love ballads, resurrecting the lush traditions of romance nestled inside tracks from the big-band era to the inimitable Rat Pack.
In advance of the show, I chatted with Caitlin about two of the most coveted subjects: the stars and love. Perhaps, the centrifugal forces of the universe will align you with your star-crossed lover inside Cannery.
1. How was your mercury retrograde?
To be honest, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been through the ringer these past couple weeks, but it puts all those little pains into perspective when every difficulty encountered shines light on the things we need to work on most. There’s been a lot of important lessons learned so while it’s been a little rough, it was also kind of brilliant.
2. What are your worst/best valentines day experiences?
‘Worst’ would be easy, but likely unfair. The only ‘best’ that springs to mind was junior year of high school when me and my best friend Danielle went to see Prince at Bridgestone, Gaylord or whatever it was back then. We got called valley girls by a parking attendant, the lady behind us spilled beer on our heads and it was one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.
3. What’s your opinion on the “holiday?” It tends to be a divisive one…
It is what you make it. Like I said, I can’t recall any unforgettably romantic evenings with past loves or whatever. I’m sure there was something decent in there, but nothing as cool as screaming along to “Raspberry Beret” with my bff. Valentine’s has such a silly stigma for a hallmark holiday. It holds no real meaning, but is a great excuse to go on a date or throw a party. This year I’d rather throw the party. There’s no point if you’re not having fun.
4. If you could do a valentines day duet with any other artist, who would you choose and why?
Derek Hoke because we are singing a Valentine’s duet and I cannot wait for that. Ron Sexsmith… Bryan Ferry… Anyone who knows how to service a great melody. I would also like to sing Love on Top with Beyonce, but would probably sit out after the first few modulations.
5. What are you most looking forward to about the show Saturday night?
The payoff of hearing it all come together. It’s been a huge undertaking for all involved and I’d hope that in the end all of the hard work would feel like an afterthought to the experience. To hear everyone up on stage nailing this wonderful material that is so close to my heart means the world to me. I want everyone to feel proud of the work we have put in to make this weirdo dream a reality and to help christen that new Cannery Stage with truly beautiful music. I want to see people having a good time. Also…. new dress. There are a few things about this holiday I can dig.
6. In terms of compatibility, what do you think is most important? Compatible sun signs? Rising? Mercury?
This is all grain of salt territory. There is no good indicator of true compatibility aside from human connection and experience. It’s unwise to start connecting dots before you actually know a person. Just because something seems fated doesn’t mean it’s a good idea and no matter how aligned you think those stars may be, when you see crazy comin, cross the street. For fun tho, I might look into sexier aspects. Venus and mars placements and also eros/psyche are always fun. Keep it light.
7. You’re a cancer, right? What signs have you found yourself most compatible with (friendship or otherwise), and which ones do you absolutely hate, if any?
Astrology was something I got into to find out how to be more compatible with people in general, so it wouldn’t be in my favor to criticize any one sign. Aries are beautiful and I get on with them too well for my own good (both my North node & Jupiter in aries), Cancers are my ride or die bitches (despite occasional fall out from all those feelings), Pisces make me laugh the hardest and anyone with a gemini moon is a bond-for-life despite all personal history and good sense (it’s a sickness).
I used to have an irrational fear of Aquarians, which I blame mostly on that whole Robert Wagner/Natalie Wood catastrophe.
For more on Caitlin and her favorite love ballads, check out her recent Nashville Five.