Carrie Rodriguez – She Ain’t Me – review

carrie rodriguez
Artist: Carrie Rodriguez
Title: She Ain’t Me
Label: Manhattan Records
Rating: 6.5/10

Corporate line:
After her well-received solo debut Seven Angels on a Bicycle, Carrie Rodriguez spent much of 2007 on a whirlwind tour schedule that included opening for friend/fan Lucinda Williams. The Associated Press raved, “. . . her voice has a character few achieve. Rather than a support player taking a minor turn, she uses her first solo album to mark her ground as a singular talent.”

Carrie’s sophomore release, ” She Ain’t Me,” still showcases her intimate croon, but this classically trained singer/songwriter has just begun flexing her artistic muscles. “She Ain’t Me” is an expectation-confounding statement from Carrie, who notes, “Because I took some chances, wrote with some new people and actually co-wrote most of the songs on the album, it’s very different.”

For She Ain’t Me, the Austin-born, Berklee-trained violinist-turned-fiddler teamed with producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Kaki King) and wrote with Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, as well as Mary Gauthier, Dan Wilson, and Jim Boquist. The album also features a guest vocal appearance by Lucinda Williams.

The great:

“She Ain’t Me” – Like her idol Lucinda Williams, Rodriguez takes a bit of country and mixes it with a sweet bit o’ honey. This is a very rare song that wins you over without a perfect explanation why it’s so satisfying.
“El Salvador” – When Sheryl Crow first came out there was something magical about her songs. Many of these songs weren’t commercially viable and yet they were great and fans loved them. Rodriguez has many of those similar qualities.
“Infinite Night” – Biting, interesting lyrics with Rodriguez full of venom.

The rest:
“El Dorado”
“The Big Mistake”
“Rag Doll” – Not Rodriguez at her best.

Neither Carrie Rodriguez, nor her record label, are well known and its a shame they may not find their way into the masses. Rodriguez is an interesting artist who has a very good voice but what makes her interesting are the lyrics and the way she makes you feel everyone of the words she sings.

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