Newcomer Whitney Rose has given one of the greatest pop songs of all time a cool country makeover with assistance from the Mavericks’ lead singer Raul Malo. The 1963 Ronettes hit “Be My Baby,” written by the powerhouse team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, along with producer Phil Spector, has previously been covered by John Lennon and the Beach Boys, among others, but this dramatic version from the Canadian songstress and the Miami-born Malo turns the tune into one of the most smoldering duets in recent memory. (Listen to the track below.)
“Singing with Raul on ‘Be My Baby’ was daunting, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts about the duet,” Rose tells Rolling Stone Country. “But I’m really proud of how it turned out. It can be tough to cover songs effectively — especially songs as celebrated as ‘Be My Baby’ — and I think we accomplished that.”
“I love this record,” adds Malo. “I’m honored to have played a part in making it. The songs are so strong no one could ruin them. . .not even me.”
“Be My Baby” is taken from Rose’s second LP, Heartbreaker of the Year, produced by Malo and released in Canada earlier this year. The album will be available in the U.S. on August 21st. Recorded in Toronto in just four days, the LP was mixed at Capitol Records by Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Keith Richards).
Describing the album as “a little weird. . .a little quirky,” Rose adds, “but so am I.” She also notes that, like Malo and the Mavericks, she creates country music that draws upon classic influences.
“I would have to be either lazy or stupid to not take advantage of getting to work alongside these guys and I am neither of those things,” Rose explains. “I initially thought that Raul’s mentorship would cap at touring, but during a western Canadian jaunt last spring I had written enough new material for a record so I asked him to produce it — with very little expectation. When he said yes I was so excited but also really relieved because I felt I still had so much to learn from him.”
Rose, who released her self-titled debut album in 2012, has tour dates scheduled throughout the summer and fall in Canada. In September, she’ll be in Nashville for the annual AmericanaFest.