Date:   6/13/2009

Texas firecracker, Carrie Rodriguez, heats up the stage at Thrasher

Texas-twang. Folk. Country. Pigeonhole Carrie Rodriguez at your peril. Sure, she's done a lot of duets. She plays a fiddle. (a mean one at that.) She's recorded songs with a pleasing, folksy twang. But don't think you know what you're getting. The ever-evolving sound of Carrie Rodriguez will be yours for the judging on Saturday, June 13 at the historic Thrasher Opera House in downtown Green Lake, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 

Not yet 30, and with a critically-acclaimed solo record SEVEN ANGELS ON A BICYCLE (2006) and several well-received duet records in her wake, the classically trained singer/songwriter has just begun flexing her artistic muscles, still figuring out how far her talents will take her. If you're looking for someone playing it safe and sticking to tried-and-true ways of music making, as the title of Rodriguez's daring new album aptly states… SHE AIN'T ME (2008).

 

Long before Carrie Rodriguez was a fiddle-toting, mandoguitar-slinging singer/songwriter, she was a junior violin student in Austin, Texas, absorbing the influences of an opera-obsessed mom and folk-singing dad. "In kindergarten, we had a pilot program at my public elementary school to teach five year olds Suzuki violin lessons," Rodriguez recalls. "They would give the lessons during naptime, and I must have gotten out to go to the bathroom. And I remember walking down the hallway and hearing these violins scratching out 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.' I was immediately drawn to that and came home and told mom I wanted to take violin lessons."  "Also," she adds, "I really hated naptime."

 

Group lessons soon led to private lessons, which led Carrie to a conservatory program at Oberlin. Enter Lyle Lovett, a family friend, who invited Carrie to sit in with his band at soundcheck in Cleveland, an experience that was both inspiring and frustrating. "My feel was awful and I knew it," she recalls. "But I was mesmerized by [Lovett fiddler] Andrea Zonn. I wanted to do what she was doing."

 

Rodriguez transferred to Boston's Berklee College of Music, where she found no shortage of resources for transforming "violin" into "fiddle." "Casey Driessen is now one of the greatest American fiddle players on the scene (plays with Bela Fleck, Tim O'Brien), and he was my roommate," Rodriguez recalls. "He taught me one of the first fiddle tunes I ever learned."

 

Berklee also set the table for a love of collaboration, which led to three duet records (and many touring miles) with singer/songwriter Chip Taylor, who was instrumental in helping Carrie to realize her debut album, SEVEN ANGELS ON A BICYCLE (2006). The Associated Press raved, "...her voice has a character few achieve. Rather than a support player taking a minor turn, she uses her first solo album to mark her ground as a singular talent."  

 

Since its release, SHE AIN'T ME (2008), Rodriguez’s second album, is also receiving critical acclaim. "Hailed by Lucinda Williams, recruited by Alejandro Escovedo, and nurtured by Lyle Lovett, singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez has rapidly emerged as one of the most compelling new voices on the roots-rock scene. The Austin, Texas-raised fiddler recently released her second solo album, She Ain't Me (Manhattan), which captures a prodigiously talented musician in the process of forging a sound that's unapologetically tough and intriguingly sensual." - Andrew Gilbert / The Boston Globe (9/5/08)

 

This special performance is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Accommodations provided by the Heidel House and hospitality by the Waterfront Grill. Tickets are $18 and available at the Thrasher office, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake Bank (Green Lake); Pick N’ Save, Ripon Drug (Ripon); Twister (Princeton) or by calling the office at (920) 294-4279.  Online tickets available at www.thrasheroperahouse.com. 

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