Selena Rosanbalm stepped away from music for a few years, taking time to process and grieve a traumatic loss. Now, her perspective has broadened and changed, and her songs are more open and honest than ever. The first single from her self-titled solo album is “Patriot,” out Friday and premiering with the Austin Chronicle today. Selena Rosanbalm will be released on October 9.
“Patriot” is about the death of the American Dream; sonically, it offers feel-good hit of the summer vibes while shining a light on the absurdity of politics today. “‘Patriot’ plays out as a different kind of song for Selena Rosanbalm...the singer now ventures much more personal, political – powerful,” the Austin Chronicle said, noting how Rosanbalm’s “searing, ironic bite cuts with co-writer’s Cat Clemons lead guitar.”
Within the ten tracks on her upcoming self-titled album, Rosanbalm deals with grief — the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, shifts in relationships between adult children and their parents. She introduces listeners to more of who she is, showcasing heartbreaking candor and a different edginess than her previous work. Throughout, she’s not afraid to approach difficult subject matter.
“The name change from Rosie and the Ramblers to Selena Rosanbalm was really the impetus for the new record,” Rosanbalm says. “I had a bunch of songs ready to go, but when I needed a few more, I specifically wrote in some new styles and studied the music I wanted my ‘new sound’ to sound like.”
“How Would You Paint Me” discusses the way women are perceived by society and by men, about the way they are portrayed throughout history. “Divide” and “We’ll Catch Up” examine the relationship between parents and adult children, and how they can change.
“Can You Really Be Gone” was sparked by a photograph. “It’s funny how grief affects the mind — it shows you faces that you know are gone, confuses memories with the present, allows you to expect the impossible,” Rosanbalm says. “I think it’s a universal thing that when someone close to you dies, you hold onto any part of them that you can, a shirt, a photo, their ashes, to keep them close.”
“Inventory Your Life” is a reflection on grief and the paradox of how the end of one person’s life can mark the beginning of a new and positive chapter for someone still living.
“Making this record was really cathartic for me,” Rosanbalm says. “It had been too long since I’d had a significant musical project to focus on, and it was so fun to be back in the studio again. I loved being able to branch out — exploring some new sounds was so freeing, and such a great reminder that the point of all this isn’t to be someone’s expectation, the point is to be me, in whatever iteration.”
The honky-tonk group Rosanbalm fronted, Rosie and the Ramblers, founded in 2011 and based in Austin, toured the western US, recorded two EPs, and released Whatever You Need to acclaim in 2014. Rosanbalm has helped keep the tradition of Western Swing alive, singing and recording four albums with Hot Texas Swing Band over the last nine years, and is a member of Fancy, a cover band featuring women’s country music from the ’80s and ’90s.