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Carrie Rodriguez|Love and Circumstance

Love and Circumstance

Carrie Rodriguez

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Cover albums by artists known for writing their own material can be double-edged swords. It's a tricky balance to put your own stamp on material that others have created without losing the original's unique qualities. For every illuminating spotlight into their formative influences such as Bowie's Pin Ups or Willie Nelson's Stardust, there is an equally misguided dud like half of Bob Dylan's Self Portrait. Singer/songwriter Rodriguez gets it right, though, with her first indie album after two impressive but commercially disappointing tries for a major label that she seemed too idiosyncratic for in the first place. It also helps that most of the dozen tunes she tackles aren't particularly well-known, so Rodriguez isn't competing with versions that the general public has a vested interest in. Actually, if you didn't check the liner notes, it might seem that M. Ward's "Eyes on the Prize" or Richard Thompson's "Waltzing's for Dreamers" are Rodriguez-penned since their breezy, easy flowing melodies feel similar to her own. Rodriguez also interprets songs written by her family, in particular father David's "When I Heard Gypsy Davy Sing," and one from her great aunt, the only Spanish-language-sung track here, "La Punalada Trapera." While most of the material is ballad based, Lee Townsend's classy production and veteran players such as pedal/lap steel master Greg Leisz, along with Bill Frisell, keep the sound fresh and vibrant. That's especially critical when Rodriguez attempts standards such as a stripped-down rendition of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Merle Haggard's "I Started Loving You Again." Her fiddle skills, always impressive in concert, generally take a backseat as she concentrates on her sweet and poignant vocals. The bigger, more layered approach on Lucinda Williams' "Steal Your Love" and Little Village's obscure "Big Love" help make them centerpieces that both ground the disc and allow Rodriguez to show she's as powerful on them as on the more sparse arrangements that dominate the set list. She rescues David Rawlings' and Gillian Welch's little-heard "I Made a Lover's Prayer" and bolsters it with drums and dark, strumming, even aggressive, guitars highlighted by a stunning Frisell solo. It might be a holding pattern until Rodriguez can compose another album's worth of material, but Love and Circumstance is beautifully conceived, passionately performed, and every bit the equal of the other two terrific releases in her solo catalog.
© Hal Horowitz /TiVo

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Love and Circumstance

Carrie Rodriguez

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1
Big Love
00:04:05

Nick Lowe, Composer - Jim Keltner, Composer - Ry Cooder, Composer - John Hiatt, Composer - Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Whistling Moon Traveler Music, MusicPublisher - Oooeee Music, MusicPublisher - PLANGENT VISIONS MUSIC INC, MusicPublisher - TONOPAH AND TIDEWATER MUSIC CO, MusicPublisher

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

2
Wide River to Cross
00:03:39

Julie Anne Miller, Composer - Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - My Blind Driver Music, MusicPublisher - 29 Cove Road Music, MusicPublisher - Julies Freakin Out Music, MusicPublisher - Westbay Music, MusicPublisher - Steven P. "Buddy" Miller, Composer

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

3
When I Heard Gypsy Davy Sing
00:03:50

Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - David Roland Rodriguez, Composer

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

4
Eyes On the Prize
00:02:51

Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Crooked Spine Music, MusicPublisher - Matthew S. Ward, Composer

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

5
Steal Your Love
00:04:16

Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Lucy Jones Music/Nomad-Noman Music/Warner Tamerlane Pub. Corp. Music, MusicPublisher - Lucinda G. Williams, Composer

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

6
Waltzing's For Dreamers
00:03:26

Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Beeswing Music, MusicPublisher - Richard J. Thompson, Composer

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

7
I'm Not For Love
00:02:58

Lee Townsend, Producer - Sandrine Daniels, Composer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Monsoon Music, MusicPublisher

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

8
I Made a Lover's Prayer
00:03:59

Lee Townsend, Producer - Gillian Welch, Composer - David Rawlings, Composer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Say Uncle Music, MusicPublisher - Cracklin' Music, MusicPublisher

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

9
I Started Loving You Again
00:03:39

Bonnie Owens, Composer - Merle Haggard, Composer - Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Sony ATV Tree, MusicPublisher - Sony ATV, Tree Publishing, MusicPublisher

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

10
Rex's Blues
00:04:20

Townes Van Zandt, Composer - Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Katie Bell Music, MusicPublisher - JTVZ Music, MusicPublisher - Will Van Zandt Publishing, MusicPublisher

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

11
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
00:03:07

Hank Williams, Composer - Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Sony/ATV Acuff Rose, MusicPublisher

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

12
La Puñalada Trapera
00:04:53

Lee Townsend, Producer - Carrie Rodriguez, MainArtist - Peer International Corp., MusicPublisher - Sosa Tomas Mendez, Composer

(C) 2012 Ninth Street Opus (P) 2012 Ninth Street Opus

Album Description

Cover albums by artists known for writing their own material can be double-edged swords. It's a tricky balance to put your own stamp on material that others have created without losing the original's unique qualities. For every illuminating spotlight into their formative influences such as Bowie's Pin Ups or Willie Nelson's Stardust, there is an equally misguided dud like half of Bob Dylan's Self Portrait. Singer/songwriter Rodriguez gets it right, though, with her first indie album after two impressive but commercially disappointing tries for a major label that she seemed too idiosyncratic for in the first place. It also helps that most of the dozen tunes she tackles aren't particularly well-known, so Rodriguez isn't competing with versions that the general public has a vested interest in. Actually, if you didn't check the liner notes, it might seem that M. Ward's "Eyes on the Prize" or Richard Thompson's "Waltzing's for Dreamers" are Rodriguez-penned since their breezy, easy flowing melodies feel similar to her own. Rodriguez also interprets songs written by her family, in particular father David's "When I Heard Gypsy Davy Sing," and one from her great aunt, the only Spanish-language-sung track here, "La Punalada Trapera." While most of the material is ballad based, Lee Townsend's classy production and veteran players such as pedal/lap steel master Greg Leisz, along with Bill Frisell, keep the sound fresh and vibrant. That's especially critical when Rodriguez attempts standards such as a stripped-down rendition of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Merle Haggard's "I Started Loving You Again." Her fiddle skills, always impressive in concert, generally take a backseat as she concentrates on her sweet and poignant vocals. The bigger, more layered approach on Lucinda Williams' "Steal Your Love" and Little Village's obscure "Big Love" help make them centerpieces that both ground the disc and allow Rodriguez to show she's as powerful on them as on the more sparse arrangements that dominate the set list. She rescues David Rawlings' and Gillian Welch's little-heard "I Made a Lover's Prayer" and bolsters it with drums and dark, strumming, even aggressive, guitars highlighted by a stunning Frisell solo. It might be a holding pattern until Rodriguez can compose another album's worth of material, but Love and Circumstance is beautifully conceived, passionately performed, and every bit the equal of the other two terrific releases in her solo catalog.
© Hal Horowitz /TiVo

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