Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez – The Trouble With Humans
When it’s a lonesome night in Austin, Chip Taylor will “go hear ol’ Redd [Volkaert] and Earl Poole Ball play a sad one.” And sometimes Taylor needs to get away from it all, so he listens to songs “where wasted words are few/And old John Prine will do.” A master of lyrical detail, Taylor effortlessly transports listeners into his world with lines like those (from “Dirty Little Texas Story” and “Don’t Speak In English”, respectively).
Not one song on The Trouble With Humans feels out-of-place; it feels like a just-right panhandle summer Sunday with all its moods represented. There’s late-morning laziness (“Confessions”), mid-afternoon partying (“All The Rain”), breezy evening reminiscing (“Oh Ireland”).
What might seem like an odd pairing — the man who inspired a million garage bands by writing “Wild Thing” and a classically-trained violinist — proves again be a snug, natural fit. On this follow-up to their first collaborative disc, last year’s Let’s Leave This Town, Taylor’s cragginess and Carrie Rodriguez’ sultry voice mix like Corona and lime, intoxicating and delicious.
In fact, at their best — “Memphis, Texas”, one of three Rodriguez co-writes — it’s hard to imagine one without the other. “I’m a dusty old road by the back of a barn…I’m a sky with no end just tryin’ to rain,” they declare in a duet, sounding like two lost souls who still haven’t found the answers, though they know they belong by each other’s side while they continue looking.