BioAt their best, well-written, expertly-executed songs do more than just tell a story - they pose important questions. On If Songs Could Be Held, her third full-length for Sub Pop, Seattle songwriter/vocalist Rosie Thomas approaches the sometimes difficult but universal topics of introspection, identity and love with bravery, honesty, and above all, stunning beauty. These songs aren’t all about Thomas’ personal experience, however. This departure into the fictitious is only the first of numerous artistic stretches from 2003's Only With Laughter Can You Win and Thomas' 2001 Sub Pop debut, When We Were Small. Making a concerted effort to remove herself from her comfort zone, the Seattleite went so far as to pack her bags and work on the new album amidst the hustle and heat of Los Angeles. Thomas may have already sounded angelic before recording in the City of Angels, but the bold resolution in her voice this time around was certainly born of the strength she gained taking chances.
Although longtime collaborator and close friend Eric Fisher was an integral part of the compositional and creative process as he was on previous records, If Songs Could Be Held marks the first time in the course of her solo career that Thomas has collaborated with musicians outside her circle of family and friends. In addition to the aforementioned duet on "Let It Be Me", the new album features contributions from Liz Phair guitarist Dino Meneghin and accomplished film soundtrack string arranger Josh Myers.
As an artist, Thomas' relationship with her songs has always been intensely personal and often tumultuous: her creations are "heavy, and wonderful, and taken care of even like a friend," as she puts it. Since Sub Pop was first introduced to her delicate vocals on Damien Jurado's Ghost of David (Thomas sings on "Parking Lot") and Badlands: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska (she and Jurado duet on "Wages of Sin"), Thomas' formidable solo career has gained her acclaim from critics and fans alike. No Depression calls her voice "delicate, exquisite", and Paste Magazine labeled her a "powerhouse vocalist." Aside from the aforementioned previous full-lengths, she has toured extensively with labelmates Iron and Wine and The Shins, and will hit the road in support of her new material throughout 2005.