“I’m little but I’m loud / dangerous and proud” warbles Austin-native Rosie Flores in “Little But I’m Loud” from her most recent album, Working Girl’s Guitar. This is a fitting description of the musician—a petite woman, Flores can nevertheless belt with the best of ’em and wields her token blue guitar with deadly precision. “I ain’t foolin’ around / just ask everybody here in town” she continues, and this seems to be true as well; part cowgirl, part surfer chick, Flores is an all-around force. In large part, it was Flores who was responsible for drawing Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin, two of the rockabilly world’s Ladies Elite, out of retirement in the ‘90s. And Austin seems to have recognized her dynamism—in 2006, the city’s mayor named August 31 “Rosie Flores Day.”
Flores is perhaps best known as a rockabilly musician, her most well-received album to date being 1995’s Rockabilly Filly. In Working Girl’s Guitar, though, she demonstrates her versatility as a musician and songwriter. The album floats from rockabilly to surf rock to bluesy love ballad and back, all while achieving a cohesiveness that would be difficult even in a less-ambitious album.
The album’s title track is a jaunty, tough-as-nails anthem driven by an almost-equine drum beat. The dreamy “Yeah, Yeah,” written in tribute to the late Duane Jarvis, a recording partner from the early ‘90s, sounds as though it was blown in straight from the California coast. On top of her sharp vocals, Flores exhibits her impressive guitar-slinging skills—she is the album’s only guitar player, and provides faultless accompaniment to the various musical styles featured therein. The album ends, appropriately enough, with a slick cover of George Harrison’s “My Guitar Gently Weeps.”