Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Check Into Caroline Spence's Heartbreaking 'Hotel Amarillo'

There's an old hymn that begins: "This world is not home, I'm just passing through." A look to heaven and its treasures, laid up beyond our knowing. On "Hotel Amarillo," Caroline Spence is also just passing through, but on an endless tour with empty hotel beds. "It'll only be the night," she sings, resigned.

Spades & Roses is the second album from Spence, a part of the young East Nashville renaissance of singer-songwriters that are hula-hooping country, roots rock and Americana. Her airy twang recalls the angelic hurt of The Innocence Mission's Karen Peris, offering a soft blow to the quiet and intricate songs of heartbreak that hit harder on the second go-around. If the deft and delicate Spades & Roses is any indication, Spence is one to follow.

After a long night, "Hotel Amarillo" is an audible swig of red, especially when it kicks into the bridge where the chorus never appears, and the band lays into a dirty guitar solo by Kris Donegan. Kate McGaffin filmed and edited the video, a tour diary of sorts across Texas and Oklahoma. There's a lot of drinkin', goofin' and drivin' long highways, but also an admission that, after the show's done, Spence just needs to curl up in an old Bruce Springsteen t-shirt with a bottle of wine.

Spades & Roses will be released independently on March 3.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Listen to the Viking's Choice playlist, subscribe to the newsletter.