Carrie Rodriguez

Love and Circumstance (Ninth Street Opus)

Texas Platters

Carrie Rodriguez

Love and Circumstance (Ninth Street Opus)

Love and Circumstance – the title sounding suspiciously like the retort to a Dylan disc – is a canny move for Carrie Rodriguez's third trip down the studio aisle. It positions her as a country darling in the comfort of covers pulled up tightly around her chin, patchwork stories by Lucinda Williams ("Steal Your Love"), Julie and Buddy Miller ("Wide River to Cross"), Townes Van Zandt ("Rex's Blues"), Richard Thompson ("Waltzing's for Dreamers"), and Merle Haggard ("I Started Loving You Again"). Since leaving her successful duo with Chip Taylor, Rodriguez hasn't ventured far from the safety of the alt.country path, even when exploring different genres. One of Love and Circumstance's many highlights is Rodriguez's voice, always a delight and even more pleasurable now that years of touring and recording have given it a velvety depth and luminous nuance. It's also her best weapon in fighting the trap of covers, making Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" throb anew, the sweet familial touch of her father's arrangement of the traditional "When I Heard Gypsy Davy Sing" resound, and yearning "La Puñalada Trapera" get under your skin. Carrie Rodriguez's career-making recording has yet to be made, but when it hits, Love and Circumstance will be cited in its genealogy. (Carrie Rodriguez plays the Cactus Cafe two nights, Friday & Saturday, April 16-17.)

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