Milwaukee Artist You Should Know: Johanna Rose

In Rose’s most recent solo EP, the songwriter picks up a guitar and takes inspiration from a change in scenery.

JOHANNA ROSE is known for their skills on the upright bass and smoky vocals in the Milwaukee-based folk-Americana duo Nickel & Rose. But in Rose’s most recent solo EP, “can’t love you from the ground,” the songwriter picks up a guitar and takes inspiration from a change in scenery – a move to their mother’s land in Vermont. While Rose wrote the songs out-of-state, there are plenty of Milwaukee moments to love, including a handful of collaborations with local musicians.

– Erin Wolf, 88Nine

How has it been moving into the solo realm?

I historically wrote songs with a band in mind [and on a piano]. In 2020, I started playing guitar. I’ve been leaning toward writing more traditional folk tunes that can be fun with a band but still tell a story if they are on their own. 



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“Use It Up” is a standout song. What frame of mind were you in when you wrote it? 

I was feeling good! There was fresh snow on the ground, I’d just split up a whole bunch of wood and pan-fried some cod and was sitting in front of the fire messing around on the guitar.

What message are you trying to get across in this album? 

[This EP] explores the heights and gullies of surviving a disparate late-capitalist world, in arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The full interview is available at


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s December issue.

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