El Paso-born songwriter, Rose Gabriel, picked up a guitar at age 13. It seemed like the natural thing to do in her family. Her father was a regular fixture, singing and playing piano at The Lobby, a lounge across the border in Juarez. Tom Russell wrote a song about her father called “Since Sinatra Played Juarez.” Gabriel’s stepfather taught her to play guitar, starting with songs by Johnny Cash and Joan Baez. These are artists that still influence her songwriting.
In her debut EP “Desert Flowers,” Gabriel writes songs that were born on the Rio Grande like “El Paso Blues,” “Maria,” and “Pastel Boxes.” She draws up images of people who live on the border that are both honest and compassionate. Balancing heartbreak and gratitude, her melodies are drenched in Latin influences. She draws on her own childhood and personal experience in her songs. “Desert Flowers” is a balance of grit and soul, ballads and honky tonks, love and, definitely, loss, that propels Gabriel’s driving rhythms to linger in your soul and ears.