Carrie Rodriguez at the Rosendale Cafe

Saturday evening found me at the Rosendale Cafe for a concert by Carrie Rodriguez, a singer/songwriter/fiddler (who also happens to play guitar) born and raised in Austin, TX, but who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Carrie actually set out to be a fiddler, before getting into singing at the encouragement of Chip Taylor (well, she originally started out playing classical violin, before discovering a love for the fiddle. Same instrument of course, completely different style). She now merges the two, tours with a band, and has released two albums, Seven Angels On A Bicycle and She Ain’t Me.

The concert  started at 8pm, but by seven the entire cafe was packed – with a busload worth of people still waiting in the hallway! Somehow Mark, the owner of the Rosendale Cafe, kept finding room to squeeze people in, as the waiters whizzed by where I was sitting, trying to take orders (not an easy task when everyone is stuck here and there in random places). It’s always really great to see a venue that well attended, and I love being at shows with as much audience energy as there was on Saturday. Speaking of energy, Carrie Rodriguez is full of it! Even sitting at a table sipping wine with her band members Hans Holzen and Javier Vercher, her producer Malcolm Burn, and his wife Sandrine before the show started, Carrie had a sparkle in her eyes, and an obvious vibrancy which translates through her music. Armed with a fiddle and bow, she’s a force to be reckoned with. At times when she’s playing she’s wild as a hurricane, yet Carrie has a grace and elegance about her as well. At the show in Rosendale, the musicians had a variety of instruments with them, including a Mandobird (a cross between a mandolin and a guitar), a fiddle, a keyboard,  a soprana sax, a mandolin, a couple of guitars, and drums. Don’t let Carrie’s petite frame fool you, that girl’s got one powerful voice! It’s both inspiring and utterly devastating, and at any given time listening to her music can either make you feel either full of life or it can break your heart. As Carrie sang on Saturday, she stomped and swayed along to the music, and her dark curls spilled angrily across her forehead. At times her music sounds as though she draws inspiration from the high lonesome sound of old-time bluegrass singers, while a large portion of her pop/rock/folk songs are infused with a Cajun flair (especially noticeable in her fiddle playing). At Saturday’s concert she also sang a Spanish song called “La Puñalada Trapera” which was mellow, even though the song is about a backstabbing boyfriend… Carrie didn’t have her entire band with her, just Hans Holzen on mandolin and guitar, and Javier Vercher on drums, sax, and keyboard. Both Hans and Javier are excellent musicians, and I thought the trio sounded great together; they had a nice balance. They were called back for an encore on Saturday, for which they played two covers. The first was The Beatles’ “I’m So Tired”, the second was a Dirk Powell song called “Say Darling Say.” I have a feeling that Carrie Rodriguez will have lasting power in the music world, and I look forward to hearing where her musical explorations take her next, as she continues to evolve as a songwriter and musician.

Check out some videos from the show:

Infinite Night

Absence

50’s French Movie

Waterbound

Blackberry Blossom

El Savador

La Puñalada Trapera

Say Darling Say

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