Thursday, October 09, 2008

Review: Carrie Rodriguez - She Ain't Me

Label: Manhattan Records

Released: August 5, 2008

Carrie Rodriguez's voice is beautiful. It's dynamic and full and she can be sultry, powerful and breathy at will. It is, as it should be, the centerpiece and strength of this album. She has the kind of voice that could lead her down any musical road she might choose and it seems more often than not, the technically talented stick to refined, methodical styles. Rodriguez doesn't though. She Ain't Me is a rootsy, country-tinged affair that allows her to exercise her voice in a very natural way. Rodriguez shares vocals with Lucinda Williams on "Mask of Moses" and they sound great together. Likewise, her songs aren't the silly fluff that runs through so much popular music. She's written songs that deal with humanity and faith and discontent and yearning.

The trouble that She Ain't Me runs into is that it never quite seems to break out. The overall feel is just too much like the studio and the band is very good, but, with few exceptions, uneventful. Without the innate sense that comes from a band really being together, the performance becomes a cage that prevents anyone, most notably Rodriguez, from really breaking free and taking flight. Throughout, I waited to hear her let go and it just never quite happened.

All in all, Rodriguez is way too good to be dismissed. Her voice, even restrained, has so much to offer and that strength makes the restraint even more pronounced. She Ain't Me is a rewarding listen that nonetheless leaves you feeling a little bit short of full, but hungry for the next album.

Satriani: 8/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 6/10
Overall: 6/10



If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.

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Blogger Barbara(aka Layla) said...

You've got me curious about her voice, I'll have to check it out...

1:43 AM  
Blogger taotechuck said...

On first listen, it deserves better than a 6/10.

I hear what you're saying about the band, but I'm not sure this is the kind of music that requires the band to be 'eventful.' I think the musicians - particularly the banjo and fiddle players - contribute really valuable parts without ever overpowering the songs. "Let Me In" might be the best example of the band contributing interesting yet understated parts.

I think it's a solid 7/10, and it might even be knocking at the door of 8.

4:24 PM  

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