Album Review: Give Me All You Got by Carrie Rodriguez
Great, Based on 4 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
From her early studio days as a fiddle-playing sweet-voiced singer working with country-folk veteran Chip Taylor, Carrie Rodriguez has grown and blossomed over her five solo albums into a poised and confident vocalist, and perhaps more importantly, since she could always sing and play that fiddle until you came out of your boots, she's developed into a mature, confident, and extremely moving and graceful songwriter, which is everywhere evident on the Lee Townsend-produced Give Me All You Got. Songs like the marvelous opener, "Devil in Mind" (along with its instrumental reprise later in the sequence), and "Whiskey Runs Thicker Than Blood," both of which Rodriguez wrote or co-wrote, have a timeless feel to them, almost like she just happened to come upon them and decided to sing. And she does pretty well with other folks' songs here, too, including Chip Taylor's "I Cry for Love" and a pair of songs from Luke Jacobs, the wonderful and assured "Tragic" and the beautiful "I Don't Mind Waiting" (sung as a duet with Jacobs), and everything on this impressive outing fits together like honey and smoke in a warm but vibrant Texas breeze.
This is Carrie Rodriguez’s fourth studio release since 2006’s debut and her increased confidence as both a songwriter and performer jumps out of the speakers. With a voice that can be sweet and forlorn as on the poignant “Get Back in Love” or tweaked with just enough tartness to make “Cut Me Now” such a darkly moving Lucinda Williams styled breakup ballad, the approach is multi-hued and varied. Her violin skills are world class but play second fiddle—pun intended—to potent songwriting and vocals.
After breaking onto the country scene in the early 2000s with a series of albums with Chip Taylor, Carrie Rodriguez struck out on her own with Seven Angels On A Bicycle in 2006. Now, a decade after her first record with Taylor, Rodriguez returns with her third solo album, Give Me All You Got. Having grown up the daughter of songwriter David Rodriguez and worked with a string of mentors that includes legends such as Taylor and Lucinda Williams - both artists having a reputation for both longevity and consistency - it’s no surprise that her latest album is one her strongest yet.
Carrie Rodriguez's stock-in-trade remains her homegrown fiddle prowess, but on fifth solo outing Give Me All You Got, she wields a humble six-string on a polished, heartfelt set of tunes about a thirtysomething home in Texas again. The native Austinite, 34, marries traditional country grooves, such as the sweet lilt of "Lake Harriet," to the fuzzed-out guitar tones of darkened barroom rock & roll, juxtaposing whiskey-fueled dance parties with the two-stepping daydream of a genteel past. The aforementioned fiddle provides much-needed dissonance in playing off the smoky blues-rock of more straightforward guitar-driven tunes – "I Cry for Love," for example.