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Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Carrie Rodriguez - Live In Louisville

Carrie Rodriguez - Live In Louisville
2009 Luz Music/Mood Indigo Entertainment

Carrie Rodriguez garnered quite a reputation as a fiddle player, but the woman can sing like an angel; as we learned when we reviewed She Ain't Me last year. We liked it, and it appears that we weren't along. She Ain't Me peaked at #2 on the Americana charts and #18 on the AAA non-commercial charts in the US. She Ain't Me also garnered Rodriguez a "Songwriter Of The Year Award" in the Folk category from The Roots Music Association. Rodriguez appeared on Austin City Limits in the Fall of 2008 and again in July of 2009. On November 24, 2009 Luz Music in conjunction with Mood Indigo Entertainment will release Live In Louisville, a live performance recorded in April of 2007 while touring with Lucinda Williams. Live In Louisville features Rodriguez at her most elemental and includes two songs that have not appeared on CD previously.

The show opens with Dirty Leather, a dark story song that could be mistaken as a come-on song at first but turns into something entirely different. Rodriguez' dark, sultry alto may mislead listeners on first blush, but that same voice adds gravity to a story of illness and death. The song is amazing and even more powerful live than from the studio. 7 Angels On A Bicycle is a story of love, lost and infidelity wrapped in an arrangement that throws its arms around you and insists you come along for the ride. Rodriguez makes a personal plea on Before You Say Another Word. The instrumentation comes alive around her plaintive vocal; I was honestly blown away by the simple honesty of the song. Rodriguez may have a classic on her hands in I Don't Want To Play House Anymore. Don't be surprised if a generation or two from now this is one of the most covered Country/Roots songs there is. Rodriguez is powerful on the mic with a song that could become anthemic, and the backing band is superlative.

The fiddle comes to the fore on the instrumental Blackberry Blossom; a concert favorite you won't find anywhere else. Names like Allison Krauss and Natalie MacMaster come to mind here. Mask Of Moses makes a powerful statement about deception and trust; a firm Americana arrangement devolves into a jam with jazz structure before returning to it's most simple form. Rodriguez takes on Bill Monroe's You Won't Be Satisfied (That Way), bringing power and sex appeal that Monroe perhaps never imagined in one of many highlights on the album. If there was any question of sex appeal on You Won't Be Satisfied (That Way), 50's French Movie blows any questions right out the window with hurricane force. Rodriguez bulls through the song with the same sultry alto she's had the entire show. From desire to rejection we go with Never Gonna Be Your Bride, a barn-burner that'll have you two-stepping in spite of yourself. Rodriguez says goodnight with St. Peter's, a gorgeous tune that could be about unrequited love or about missing someone who's far away. Either way it's a powerful tune you won't soon forget.

Carrie Rodriguez is a presence on CD, as we learned previously; but on stage she blossoms into a performer the likes of who is not often seen. Not flashy or garish, Rodriguez performs with a humility and grace that belies her talent, seeming to take nothing for granted from the crowd and giving her all on every song. What's most impressive is that all of this is readily apparent even on a live recording on CD. Live In Louisville may just be one of the best live recordings I've heard (and I've heard many, official or otherwise, over the years). If you're a fan of Carrie Rodriguez and don't own it yet, plunk down the cash for Live In Louisville. If you're not familiar with Carrie Rodriguez, you're in for a treat. Start here.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Carrie Rodriguez at or Live In Louisville goes into national release on November 24, 2009, but if you just can’t wait you can buy it now through Rodriguez’ web store.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review and support Wildy! - John/mood indigo said...

I totally agree with the article.