Cast Your Stone
As a teenager, this native Hawaiian underwent brain surgeries that left him with partial vision in one eye. Later, after he’d found work teaching special-needs kids, he lost a girlfriend to a motorcycle accident. So he’s entitled to sing songs like “Times Are Hard,” a nervous country-noir number about “dusty dreams.” Of course, if entitlement were enough, the world would be filled with country singers. Rose also has a terrifically unique voice, a cracked whisper that suggests Don Henley answering his phone at 3 a.m. On harrowing highlight “Driving South” he invites Lucinda Williams, whose band backs him throughout, to match his weary tone. They sing together about hope, the kind you have to scrub off a layer of grit to see shining.