Friday, May 08, 2009
To A Sheen - The District
From the District - (5/06/09)
Fiddler/vocalist Carrie Rodriguez has toured much of the world in the last few years. Most recently, she has warmed up concerts for country stalwarts Lucinda Williams and John Prine, as well as headlining the Austin City Limits stage for PBS cameras. Although raised in Austin, Texas, Rodriguez currently hangs her boots in Brooklyn—a place where every niche can find a fan club—landing there by way of the Berklee School of Music, only 200 miles up the interstate, where she honed her fiddling skills and acquired an urban grit that spices up her sultry performances.
Rodriguez’s sound is as indebted to the empowered women of mid-‘90s rock (Alanis, Shirley, Tori) as to any well-coiffed lady of the Opry (Dolly, Loretta, Tammy), with her voice simmering evenly between anger and seduction. At times on her recordings, it is only the instrumentation (pedal steel, fiddle) that can qualify the tracks as “country,” falling more in line with radio-friendly pop balladry, exuding a commercial polish that has dominated the genre since the heyday of Shania Twain.
In a cultural climate where a young country star can convert mass-appeal into massive piles of money, Rodriguez is being presented as a brunette alternative to the Underwoods and Simpsons. Although Rodriguez co-authored every song on her last record, She Ain’t Me, she is still a few albums away from shaking off the calculated presentation of the various promoters and handlers depending on her to finance their summer homes. Her music is good, and her playing exemplary, but everything seems a little too deliberate. When Rodriguez is finally left to her own talents, the result will inevitably be more genuine and engrossing.
In all likelihood, her local appearance will be a straightforward affair. Rodriguez will be performing as a trio with the help of an electric guitar and bass, eliminating many of her atmospherics before zigzagging west of the Colorado River and Europe. Rodriguez can be a forceful fire-breather, anchored by her fiddle and rhythmic stomp; catch her New England-refined, Brooklyn-dwelling, Texas-grown heat before she gets that Pepsi endorsement.
CARRIE RODRIGUEZ WITH ROMANTICA GRAND ANNEX 434 W SIXTH ST SAN PEDRO 90731 GRANDVISION.ORG FRI 7:30PM $15-20