Another Triumph from Carrie Rodriguez

Love and Circumstance
Ninth Street Opus 0001

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I was impressed by Carrie Rodriguez’s first two records, but her latest absolutely floored me. It’s a dozen covers so skillfully done that some of the original artists might be tempted to enter the witness protection program. And it’s absolutely true to the album title; Rodriguez casts herself in the role of a take-charge lover—tender on occasion, but also one not afraid to lasso a bad boy (“Steal Your Love”), be cynical (“Waltzing for Dreamers”), or admit that she’s dangerous prey (“I’m Not for Love”). When you cover songwriters like Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Ry Cooder (“Big Love”), and Townes Van Zandt (“Rex’s Blues”), you’d better have the chops to back it up. Ditto forays into iconic turf such as “I Started Loving You Again”(Merle Haggard) and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (Hank Williams). Suffice it to say that Rodriguez holds her own and more, coloring her oh-so-sweet timbre with expressive ornaments aimed at enhancing each song’s emotion core. Kudos also to producer Lee Townshend; the lush arrangements and jangly guitars on “Big Love,” “Steal Your Love,” and “I Made a Lover’s Prayer” evoke the work of Daniel Lanois, though Townshend also has the insight to let Rodriguez stretch her wings on some pure country, some indie folk, and even a Latino ballad. Rodriguez balances beauty and grit, traditional and new, complex and simple…. If this isn’t her breakthrough album there’s no justice!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

agreed, this record wows me too. I'm recommending it to everyone i talk to about music. so far, everyone who's taken the chance has thanked me.