Forget death and taxes -- the two biggest constants in our world are heartache and the classic sound of Nashville. Luckily for us -- though unfortunately for her -- 24 year-old Music City resident Caitlin Rose has combined the two for her 2010 debut full-length, Own Side Now. Rose, appearing at The Birchmere on Monday, Nov. 7, transformed the misery of a recent breakup into a record that already sounds timeless.
''I don't like being unhappy,'' Rose says. ''I'm just really good at it. A breakup is the best way to remove yourself from the world, to be less distracted. You lay in bed smelling your air conditioning for two weeks and you realize what you should be doing. I got a lot done in that year. The best way to pull yourself out [of depression] is to get something out of it.''
The two most obvious touchstones for Rose's music are Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell. Their music echoes both Rose's album and its for-the-ages second track, ''Own Side.'' Rose realized the accidental homage to her two ''most respected'' artists after her album was done, but concedes that she and Ronstadt have more in common than a fondness for triads.
''I fashioned my record off [Ronstadt's] Don't Cry Now without even realizing. I listen to so much Ronstadt and they all have a similar message. Two or three upbeat songs and the rest are ballads. No one does that anymore and that's what charmed me."
Rose herself is capable of great levity. Her song ''Shanghai Cigarettes'' is both a toe-tapping ''fuck you'' to a bad boyfriend and an ode to the painful pleasures of smoking. She insists, though, that her habit is ''not my mythology'' and is tired of reporters harping on that aspect of her persona.
''Ke$ha can go around saying 'I brush my teeth with Jack!' I don't write party music. I write songs. Sad songs. So that's different.'''
Caitlin Rose opens for Hayes Carll on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m., at The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $25. Call 703-549-7500 or visit birchmere.com.