Portland Country Artist Rose Gerber Releases New EP

“Untraveled Highway” arrives on July 5.

Rose Gerber, photo by Whitney Lyons (Whitney Lyons)

On July 5, Portland country musician Rose Gerber will release her newest EP, Untraveled Highway.

The new songs come from a place of self-confrontation and understanding of the passage of time. “These songs for me were the kind where you write them for yourself first to process whatever grief or frankly, shit, that’s happened,” Gerber says. “As you near the latter half of your life, you’re reflecting back. These songs are at that inflection point where they’re looking a little more back than forward.”

Gerber, 44, first fell for the stylings of classic country music on the road trip that brought her to Portland 16 years ago, and how she first came to love the sound is a matter of sheer coincidence.

In 2008, Gerber’s friends from Vermont threw her a party before she left for the Pacific Northwest. Much to Gerber’s surprise, a stranger showed up with a large stack of CDs asking for someone named Rose. Gerber was confused, since she was the only Rose in the room. Turns out, there was another Rose who was also having their own farewell party nearby.

The stranger—realizing the mistake and that other Rose was likely long gone—gave Gerber the stack of freshly burned country CDs. Those discs are what first exposed Gerber to the wide world of country music. “I listened to them the whole road trip and by the time I got to Portland I was like, I really like country music, and I think I want to write some country songs,” she says.

Since then, Gerber has found her place in the Portland music community, forming a band and in recent years playing fairly consistently in town either solo, with a full band, or as part of an a cappella group. In 2019, Gerber released the album Another Heartache, and has shared a handful of EPs since.

“Captain,” the commencing track of Untraveled Highway, is about Gerber’s stepmother and how her battle with dementia brought out new sides in her. “All her memories were floating around,” Gerber says. “She was kind of youthful and giddy. It was like seeing a piece of her that I hadn’t before.”

Gerber uses a captain of a ship to represent an unspecified divine being and poses the question, singing, Will I blink out/Fade away?/Oh, captain?

Gerber is eager to add the five new tracks from her upcoming EP to the setlist for upcoming shows, including an upcoming night at Showdown on July 14.

“I’m really pumped to be playing these songs live,” Gerber says. “I really like where my sound’s at, where my band’s at, and I’m excited that this is an album that may be getting a little more traction because I’m digging it.”

SEE IT: Rose Gerber and her band play at The Showdown, 1195 SE Powell Blvd., showdownpdx.com. 8–10 pm Sunday, July 14. $15, $10 in advance.

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