Elevate Difference

Live in Louisville

“Well you have it, you love it, now it’s your turn to shove it…I don’t want to play house anymore,” sings Carrie Rodriguez on her newly released live compilation album, Live in Louisville. Her soulful voice, accompanied by rousing fiddles, makes her point with grace and force. The tunes on the album come from Rodriguez’ various other projects, but the most colorful are those she takes the credit for writing.

“I Don’t Want to Play House Anymore,” “Seven Angles on a Bicycle,” (from the album of the same name), and “Never Gonna Be Your Bride” are among the more upbeat sounds on the album, but that doesn’t mean the rest are purely maudlin. The slower tracks on the album are as much soulful as they are haunting.

The eclectic sounds of her band would put her solidly in an Americana, that amalgam of roots music that revisions country, folk, and blues, but the unique twists and turns of her voice bridge the renewed attention to the genre with more traditional bluegrass and even the more sentimental songwriting of Jewel, Indigo Girls, and Julie Roberts (of country fame).

There is an element of the unexpected in each song, whether it’s a musical bridge or a turn of phrase, and the dusky sound of Rodriguez’s voice seems to make her the perfect candidate for a closing credits track on HBO’s True Blood—a new Grey’s Anatomy of sorts for launching the hottest new music.

Rodriguez can please the country in you while reminding you through her pertinent lyrics that you’re alive, you share in disasters and joys like the rest of us. And just as you’re ready to dismiss one track as too country or too slow, the next places you squarely in New Orleans among an impromptu fiddle fest or back into a dark, dank bar with a lonely mic.

Live in Louisville's variety—in voice and vision—is well worth a listen.

Written by: Dr. Julie E. Ferris, April 14th 2010