Carrie Rodriguez, from Austin, Texas, is a competition-quality fiddler who recorded several collaborative albums with troubadour Chip Taylor before striking out on a solo career as a singer-songwriter specializing in edgy alt-country.
Her new CD, a fierce and artful live set, was actually created between the releases of her two studio albums—Seven Angels on a Bicycle (2006) and She Ain't Me (2008). It's a complete, 12-song set that Rodriguez and her band played during a 2007 tour opening for Lucinda Williams. Released a couple of weeks ago, the album is available primarily at Rodriguez's Web site (www.carrierodriguez.com) and at gigs.
Live in Louisville is marked by Rodriguez' impassioned delivery and the explosive performance of her band, for which she plays both fiddle and electric mandolin.
The mood is shivery film-noir country with Rodriguez and company composing the music's shapes and colors in a precise, painterly fashion, such as on "I Don't Want to Play House Anymore" and "You Won't Be Satisfied That Way." Some listeners may be reminded of Williams and Patty Griffin.
Many of the tunes build to muscular, rock 'n' roll climaxes upon which are balanced melody and dissonance to give a sense of emotional release. The cinematic scope of "Mask of Moses" and the overly sexual "50's French Movie" will have some listeners thinking Nickel Creek has melted into Sonic Youth.