It’s a story as old as Austin’s music scene, and perhaps apocryphal: a young talent performs at South By Southwest, gets discovered, and tours the world. In this case, it’s true, and that talent is Carrie Rodriguez. The Austin native has been wowing audiences for years after a chance meeting at SXSW 2001 kick-started her solo career. That year she met Chip Taylor–the acclaimed songwriter behind “Wild Thing” and other hits–and he was so taken by her voice and fiddle-playing that he immediately asked her to join him on a European tour.
The following year, the pair released the collaborative album Let’s Leave This Town to rave reviews. Rodriguez and Taylor continued their partnership through three more albums, and it wasn’t until 2006 that the fiddler made her solo debut. Since then, Rodriguez has worked tirelessly, primarily spending each year either in the studio or on the road. She’s an adept interpreter of songs by Townes Van Zandt, M. Ward, and Merle Haggard, but she’s also a masterful storyteller in her own right. Rodriguez calls her new album Give Me All You Got “a little bit more autobiographical that anything I’ve put out in the past…There’s a pretty wide range (of emotions) on this record, from betrayal and heartache to songs about pure joy, the joy of being alive even with all the difficulties.”
That range is readily apparent in one of the album’s standouts. Chip Taylor sent her “I Cry For Love,” and although she didn’t write the song, Rodriguez easily makes it her own. Over a dark, bluesy atmosphere, the singer convinces us of her toughness, yet love breaks her down again and again. It’s an emotionally complex song, but leave it to Rodriguez to make sure every listener knows exactly what she’s feeling.