It seems natural that Carrie Rodriguez would move into songwriting and performing as a solo artist in her own right after playing fiddle as a sideman for other artists.
Songwriting is in her blood, quite literally. She is the daughter of David Rodriguez, an acclaimed singer and songwriter with several albums to his credit.
Who: John Prine, with Carrie Rodriguez and Kites and Crows
When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 28
Where: Britt Pavilion, 350 First St., Jacksonville
Tickets: $59 for reserved seating, $39 for lawn and $29 for ages 12 and younger; reserved lawn seating for four costs $236
Call: 541-773-6077 or see www.brittfest.org
Rodriguez says the connection to her father made her hesitate to explore her songwriting talents.
"If you're the kid of someone who's known for what they do and they're really good at it, you don't want to go there," Rodriguez says during a telephone interview. "It's a little intimidating."
Songwriter Rodriguez will open the show for John Prine at 8 p.m. Friday, June 28, in the Britt Pavilion, 350 First St., Jacksonville. Prine is known for his humorous lyrics about love, life and current events, as well as songs with social commentary or melancholy recollections. Kites & Crows will perform at 6 p.m. on the Table Rock Stage.
Tickets cost $59 for reserved seating; $39 for lawn; and $29 for ages 12 and younger. Premium blanket seating costs $236 for four people. Tickets can be purchased online at www.brittfest.org, at the box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford, or by calling 541-773-6077.
Rodriguez' plans changed in 2001 when she played the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, with a band called Hayseed.
Chip Taylor (who wrote "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning") saw Rodriguez and offered to take her on the road and under his wing.
The partnership led to three albums as a duo: "Let's Leave This Town" (2002), "The Trouble With Humans" (2003) and "Red Dog Tracks" (2004).
Taylor persuaded Rodriguez to start singing, a move that revealed that she was a more than capable vocalist.
Taylor also encouraged Rodriguez to start writing songs. She had a few co-writes on the last two albums with Taylor, then stepped out as a solo act with her 2006 album, "Seven Angels on a Bicycle."
Though Taylor's presence was considerable on "Seven Angels," penning seven songs and co-writing four others, the CD garnered enough attention to land Rodriguez a deal with EMI Records.
Her 2008 "She Ain't Me" saw Rodriguez co-writing with EMI's A-listers Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Dan Wilson and Mary Gauthier.
Then almost as quickly as Rodriguez had stepped into the big leagues, EMI dropped her record deal.
"So much of my early musical career was a whirlwind," Rodriguez says. "It happened so quick. It left me kind of just wanting to catch my breath and wondering, well, I've enjoyed all of this, but what is truly my voice, when it's not being influenced by these amazing songwriters and record label executives who are hoping for me to have a hit? I needed some time to figure out what it all meant."
She bought herself some time by covering gems by Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, Richard Thompson, Gillian Welch, John Hiatt and others for "Love and Circumstance," which helped her reconnect with her musical roots and discover her next step as a singer and songwriter.
With "Give Me All You Got," released early this year on the Ninth Street Opus label, Rodriguez returns more confident and willing to stretch beyond her folk and country roots.
"Devil In Mind," co-written with Taylor, is a gritty, spirited tune with a bluesy chorus and bits of rock and folk. "I Cry For Love" is an edgy, vocal tour de force that combines blues, rock and country, and the gently swinging "Tragic" has a bit of torch song jazz in its smoky late-night sound.
"I think I have a lot of different genres that come out of me," Rodriguez says. "I think the new album really runs the gamut of styles."