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Carrie Rodriguez

A singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Carrie Rodriguez has become a figure of note in contemporary folk and roots rock circles for her eclectic style and adventurous spirit. Rodriguez's voice is clear and strong with room for nuance in her phrasing, and she can shift from urban folk with pop accents to roots rock and traditional Spanish language songs with ease. While her songs most often deal with the personal, she also brings a thoughtful edge to her music as she touches upon social and political issues. 2003's The Trouble with Humans is one of the best of her collaborative efforts with Chip Taylor, 2008's She Ain't Me and 2013's Give Me All You Got found her growing into her new role as a songwriter, and 2016's Lola was an ambitious exploration of her Latin roots. Carrie Rodriguez was born in Austin, Texas on July 31, 1978. Her father, David Rodriguez, was a poet and singer/songwriter, and her mother, Katy Nail, was a visual artist. Rodriguez was only five years old when she started playing violin as part of a Suzuki program, and she continued with the instrument through high school. She attended Ohio's Oberlin Conservatory, but after joining her father for a tour of Europe, she decided she wanted to move her musical focus away from classical music. She studied fiddle at the Berklee College of Music, and began familiarizing herself with the roots music scene in Austin. In 2001, she was playing a show with the alt-country artist Hayseed when she was spotted by Chip Taylor, a noted songwriter who had composed the hits "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning." Taylor was performing in an acoustic, folk-influenced folk style, and after hearing Rodriguez perform, he asked her to join his band for a tour of Europe. Taylor learned Rodriguez's vocals were as strong as her violin playing, and in 2002 she released a duo album with Taylor, Let's Leave This Town. Rodriguez would cut three more studio albums in tandem with Taylor -- 2003's The Trouble with Humans, 2004's Angel of the Morning, and 2005's Red Dog Tracks. (A live album documenting a show they played in Germany, Live from the Ruhr Triennale, would appear in 2008.) In 2006, Rodriguez released her first solo album, Seven Angels on a Bicycle, through Taylor's Train Wreck Records label. The album attracted the attention of EMI's roots music imprint Back Porch Music, who would reissue the album later the same year. Rodriguez's second album for Back Porch, 2008's She Ain't Me, was a more polished effort that put greater emphasis on her vocals at the expense of her fiddle playing. The album was not a commercial success, and it was her final release for EMI. As a stopgap, in 2009 she delivered Live in Louisville, which preserved a set she played during a tour opening for Lucinda Williams. Rodriguez teamed with the independent Ninth Street Opus label for her next solo project, Love and Circumstance, in which she covered songs by Gillian Welch, Richard Thompson, Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt, and many others. She also made a collaborative LP with Romantica frontman Ben Kyle, We Still Love Our Country. 2010 also brought The New Bye & Bye, a compilation that featured highlights from her albums with Chip Taylor. January 2013 brought a new solo effort from Rodriguez, Give Me All You Got, a confident LP that showed off her growth as a songwriter. 2015's Lola was a passion project, featuring Rodriguez performing covers and originals influences by the Mexican ranchera style (her great aunt Eva Garza had been a popular ranchera singer in the 1940s). The album featured contributions from Bill Frisell, Victor Kraus, and Raul Malo, among others, and was released on Rodriguez's own Luz Records label, distributed by Thirty Tigers. She next turned her attention to the theater, penning the music and lyrics for a new musical, ¡Americano!, based on the true story of a man from Mexico who was brought to the United States by his family at the age of two and his struggles to stay in America. The show ran for 27 performances during its debut run at Arizona's Phoenix Theater Company in early 2020, and an album of the show's music was released by Rodriguez with the group Orkestra Mendoza.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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Discography

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