One listen through Angelica Rockne‘s new album, Queen of San Antonio, and it immediately becomes clear that this is an artist that has seen and done and continues to search for love and meaning in it all. Led by world-weary, romantic country soundscapes and Rockne’s stellar vocals, Queen of San Antonio plays like a conversation struck up with a new friend at the end of a dimly lit bar lasting for maybe one or two more drinks than you had initially intended.
To celebrate the release of Queen of San Antonio, we had Rockne break it down for us track by track. Check it all out below and be sure to click on the Bandcamp player to order your copy of the album.
I was daydreaming about New Orleans, like usual, trying to imagine the music scene there in the 1960’s. During that period, I had been spending some time with an older man, someone who’s age I never knew, a very eccentric story-tellin’ rambler. He felt sort of like a mentor, an incredibly destructive one. I once told him that he reminded me of Dr. John and he immediately retorted with “you remind me of a sleazier Emmylou.” The tune represents where you end up when you forgot where you were going and behaving erratically for mild amusement when it feels you’ve already done it all.
Whiskey Men is probably the most literal song on the album. I was growing tired of all the alcoholism in my town, and was seeing the effects it can have on a relationship. When your man cares more about spending time at the Saloon than with his woman then she ain’t gonna wait around.
“Smoke When It’s Raining”
I was singing that line “I only smoke when it’s raining” over and over to myself on the veranda of our favorite hang- The National Hotel, on some dark fall afternoon. It represents the feeling of being completely disconnected in a room of people and witnessing apathy affect an entire town. And how people can get off on it in a way, be attracted to misery – and sometimes all you can do is be the observer, light up a smoke and watch it all go by.
It’s about Predeterminism, death and a rock & roll. Lyrics weaving throughout with topics like the omen of the white owl – which I’ve seen on a few eerie occasions. It’s also about obsession and how that drives art and ignites it. The song came together with the band instantly, before I even said a word about it, it felt transcendent like we all were tapping into something together.
“Queen of San Antonio”
Queen was the last song I wrote before entering the studio, so there was a lot of energy there, it was the missing piece. The song is sort of a classic tale of having nothing to lose, a gambling habit and an eye for older men. The Angel of San Antonio- that’s what they called her – a tough as nails outlaw in the old west. She drifted into my consciousness late one night and the song came easily, as though it was waiting.
“Meet Your Master”
It’s sort of about giving up other things in order to find enlightenment and leaving old lives behind while concurrently holding your people close while everything else falls away.
“Married by Elvis”
Married by Elvis is like the ending to a long wearying night. When everyone’s left the show when you’re alone with your incoherent thoughts and reflections. It’s about inherent loneliness, and the existential crisis that is modernity, tied to a ride-or-die romance, the desolate bit when the love is used-up but runs deep, you’re restless and hungry and whether the feeling will last only for one day or the rest of your life, you just can’t quite say.
I started writing the music for this one while I was camping out in Nevada at a lake that is one of the most sacred places I’ve ever been to – I think this lent to the moodiness. I wasn’t really serious about the lyrics at first, writing overtly about lust and submission – almost comically so – wasn’t my go to, but then I realized, hell, it’s what I feel like singing about because it’s what I know – gettin’ weird with my baby with no money and no plans.