Tonight we are treated to one of the most compelling talents in modern Roots/Americana music with the Roadworks Tours presentation of duo Carrie Rodriguez and Luke Jacobs. No stranger to these shores Carrie has quite a reputation as a fiddle player and vocalist and she is ably supported by Luke on guitar and lap steel in an intimate setting that sets a warm atmosphere.
Carrie is a very confident performance artist, the result of endless live shows over the years and she has been feted by many international artists such as John Prine, Lucinda Williams and Chip Taylor for her special gifts.
The set tonight draws mainly from her most recent release, Give Me All You Got, which was issued in 2013. It is a wonderful listen and full of interesting songs, many of which are performed tonight in acoustic, stripped-down mode between the two players, as they spark off each other with some virtuoso and spontaneous playing.
Devil in Mind has some great fiddle parts and gets the audience worked up with its pace and rhythm. Lake Harriet sees Carrie sing of her lover’s charms as she lays down a gentle percussive backing with her finger clicks and very effective too. Get Back in Love is a gentle vignette of lasting love and dedicated to couples who stay the course over many years of marriage. I Cry for Love and I Don’t Mind Waiting are two songs with a similar theme of being prepared to have patience in the face of a yearning for that soul mate to appear.
Carrie also sings a number of songs from her family upbringing in Mexico and references her Great Aunt who was a famous Ranchera singer. Mixing the Spanish tongue with the passion of Mexico, Carrie sings from the heart and a new release next year will contain a number of these new songs that are beautifully performed and played with sensitivity.
She goes back to her first release and sings the title track, Seven Angers on a Bicycle, a very moving song dedicated to her childhood friend who was killed in his early 20’s in an accident in NYC. The playing on this song was very heartfelt and the lap steel accompaniment from Luke was a perfect foil for Carrie to create a rhythmic guitar sound.
Luke Jacobs plays a few songs from his solo release, produced by Carrie, and he is a natural raconteur with his between song stories full of fun and colour. He tells of his encounter with drug dealers in Minnesota on a cold winter night when they rescued him from a car breakdown; only to be busted by the cops shortly after. He recalls his first Opera experience of Faust and then sings us a three minute country song that condenses the entire story of selling your soul to the Devil.
He is also a fine musician and dove-tails perfectly with the swoops and changes of direction taken by Carrie as, she plays in the moment. There is almost a jazz quality to some of the interplay between the two musicians and this is very exciting to witness at such close quarters.
Carrie plays a couple of fiddle tunes solo and displays all her mesmerising skills in a performance as exciting, as it is technically strong. She regularly stomps her foot in time to her playing and this adds an extra dimension to the performance. Carrie is full of passion and this is highlighted in her playing style and her impressive vocal range.
She also comes across as a very warm and joyful person and her maturity as a performer sees her as one of the best examples of new music to appear over the recent years.
I would urge you to catch one of her shows and to listen to her back catalogue of five solo albums, together with a number of collaborations with other artists.
A word for the support act of Kate O’Callaghan and her husband, Seamus Devenny, who play a beautifully restrained opening set laced with gentle guitar and violin. A perfect way to set the atmosphere for the main event tonight. I have been fortunate to catch this act on a few occasions now and they always impress, with an new depth and maturity now added to their undoubted talents, as they continue to grow as artists.
Review and picture by Paul McGee