A look back at Carrie Rodriguez’s overlooked second solo record – She Ain’t Me (Manhattan Records)
I first heard and saw Ms. Rodriguez on a video with Chip Taylor, performing the song “Laredo” from their The Trouble With Humans album.
The sense of site first caught my attention. She is truly a beautiful person in her appearance, but when I heard her voice. I was drawn even closer to her. When she played her fiddle! I was done for. It was as if I was a sailor on a Greek ship being drawn into the rocks by the Sirens. But in a good way!
The next time I saw her was with her band at The Luckenbach Dance Hall, in world famous Luckenbach, Texas. It was right after the release of her 1st solo album Seven Angels on a Bicycle. The song “Never Gonna Be Your Bride” blew me away! I then realized this performer had her own legs to stand on. She still, I believe, collaborates with Chip Taylor from time to time but is more than capable on her own.
I love She Ain’t Me(Manhattan Records). Her first album is good but her new venture is far superior. As it says in her bio from her website[…], “It comes from having to really look within yourself when you’re forced to be alone, and to not be afraid of that process,” Rodriguez says. “Taking some time off from the road this year to write allowed me to do some growing and reflecting that I often put aside when I’m touring all the time.”
And it shows! Ms. Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist from Austin, Texas. She is the off spring of a Mother who was a huge fan of the opera and Dad who was a folksinger. You can sort of her that influence in her songs. They all have a folksy yet classical edge to them.
In the song “Mask of Moses”, it seems you have just about all genres at once, with her own 29 year old version of how it all should sound. We’re led in by by the gentle picking of a mandolin, then Ms. Rodriguez’s smooth voice singing, “Don’t read the news it’s sad today/as long as you don’t forget to pray/believe in him more than a life/because you turned away”. The chorus then chimes in with her urging us to “come on take off your mask of Moses/ and show us your face”. It’s a very eerie song and her fiddle playing in the background adds to the eerie feel as well as giving the tune a bluesy touch.
With the track, “Let Me In”, we are lured in by a gentle bass accompanied by equally gentle strumming of the guitar. Then in a very soft, almost whispered fashion, Ms. Rodriguez uses very seductive lyrics.”Tell me what gets you off/I don’t mind if it’s hard or soft.” It appeared to me she’s been taking lessons from her touring buddy Lucinda Williams on the use of her sometimes sultry lyrics. The song eventually introduces us, in between verses, to distorted and reverberated guitar chords that equally match the seductiveness of the lyrics.
She Ain’t Me was released in 2008 but I believe this one deserves another look by those who, perhaps, missed it the first time around. The record was immaculately produced by Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Kaki King, etc.).
I loved this record and look forward to hearing more from this young, classically trained artist in the future.