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Tuesday September 02, 2014
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Carrie Rodriguez

 

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With possibilities endless/You could render me helpless/But you don't even whisper my name" — is sharp, and the bluesy drive recalls Lucinda Williams. There's a wide-open space for a young female artist to take Williams's style as a starting point and split off from it. Rodriguez has toured with Williams, and at first she sounds as if she's quite consciously trying to become Williams's heir.

The Williams influence shows up in other songs on Rodriguez's debut album, Seven

Angels on a Bicycle: some of them have Williams's combination of dark, rather impressionistic portraits with blues-rock backing, and "I Don't Want to Play House Anymore" has the intense, stressed quality of Williams's forays into straight country. But half the album doesn't sound like Williams at all, and this half has built a buzz around the undeniably fetching young Texan.

Rodriguez studied jazz and progressive bluegrass at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and started out as a fiddler with Austin local hero Chip Taylor, best known for composing both "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" (talk about commercial instincts). Taylor wrote "'50s French Movie" and some of the other music on Seven Angels on a Bicycle, and as the album's producer he had a hand in shaping its unique sound — which might be called minimalist country. Rodriguez plucks her fiddle as much as she bows it, interacting with sparse guitar or lap steel and spectral bass and percussion.

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