Published Thu, Jan 26, 2012 9:58 am Dateline
Singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez came to national prominence after being discovered by Chip Taylor in her hometown of Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest festival over a decade ago (Taylor is best known for writing the hits "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning").
At that time, the Berklee-schooled violinist fashioned herself as a fiddle-playing sideman with no aspirations of ever becoming a singer-songwriter or ever fronting her own band. After that initial meeting, Taylor invited Rodriguez to tour with him in Europe and encouraged her to sing harmony.
"I honestly don't know if I would have ever found my voice, literally, if it wasn't for meeting Chip," she said.
In 2002, the duo released the critically-acclaimed Let's Leave This Town. They recorded two more studio albums before Carrie embarked on her solo career in 2006 with the release of the Taylor-produced Seven Angels on A Bicycle.
Her most recent solo studio release, Love and Circumstance, is a collection of covers that includes songs written by M. Ward, Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Gillian Welch, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams and her father, David Rodriguez.
"As far as playing someone else's song, I don't really feel comfortable until I have completely forgotten that it's not my song," she said. "I sort of trick myself into thinking that I wrote it and then it's like it's mine."
Her rendition of Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You" was a duet with Romantica lead singer Ben Kyle. Featured on last year's We Still Love Our Country EP, the song charted on the Americana Music Association's Top 10. Rodriguez also resumed her sideman duties in 2011, backing up Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges on his national concert tour.
Carrie Rodriguez is currently hosting the An Acoustic Cafe Evening tour, featuring singer-songwriters Erin McKeown and Kelly Joe Phelps. The two-week tour features the artists in solo and duo performances and, after an intermission, in a trio setting. An Acoustic Cafe Evening will be presented at Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio, on Friday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. Visit www.stuartsoperahouse.org for details.