carrie rodriguez

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Carrie Rodriguez: Seven Angels on a Bicycle (EMI)

Carrie Rodriguez: Seven Angels on a Bicycle (EMI)

This album came out late last year but went largely ignored, even by me until I discovered it in a pile recently. And I'm very glad I did. Probably only known for her singing and fiddle playing with the great songwriter Chip Taylor -- check their 2005 Red Dog Tracks album -- this is Rodriguez' solo debut, and it's a real showcase. With...

Amy Speace and the Tearjerkers: Songs For Bright Street (Wildflower/Elite)

Amy Speace and the Tearjerkers: Songs For Bright Street (Wildflower/Elite)

Here is another album (like that by the wonderful Jimmy Norman, see tag) which has appeared long after its US release: this from singer-songwriter Speace came out mid-06. No matter, this alt.country/folk/Americana collection confirms why she has been a critics' favourite everywhere from Nashville to New York folk clubs. Speace has a classic...

Eilen Jewell: Boundary County

Eilen Jewell: Boundary County

Jewell appeared on Elsewhere a few weeks back (see tag) with her second album Letters From Sinners & Strangers -- but this debut from 2006 is actually much better, and it seems to have been given local release on the back of interest in that more recent one. Where Sinners/Strangers has a jazzy shuffle in places, this one is more firmly in...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Liberation)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Liberation)

Chambers -- daughter of the very great singer-songwriter Bill -- is one of Australia's finest alt.country/roots artists and here she teams up with her husband Nicholson for their first album together. Oddly enough although they play together in their casual side-project The Lost Dogs covers band they hadn't previously written together -- yet...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Emmylou Harris: All I Intended To Be (Warners)

The crystalline quality of Emmylou Harris' voice is often so admired that people can look past that she is also a great interpreter of a lyric and has effortlessly brought traditional or familiar songs together with her originals.This time out she calls on kindred spirits (the McGarrigle sisters, Mike Auldridge, Buddy Miller) with her band which...

Krista Polvere: Here Be Dragons (Inertia)

Krista Polvere: Here Be Dragons (Inertia)

This Adelaide singer-songwriter may sound a little weak in a couple of places here but that hasn't stopped some high-power friends lining up in a New York studio to help out on these delicate and somewhat stately alt.country songs: Ryan Adams (who co-wrote Let's Go), cellist Jane Scarpantoni, Adam Snyder and Grasshopper from Mercury Rev, and...

Eliza Gilkyson: Beautiful World (Red House/Elite)

Eliza Gilkyson: Beautiful World (Red House/Elite)

Given the tone of some of the 11 songs here -- political disillution, desperate love, a song called The Party's Over and one about the inevitability of the Great Correction -- you'd have to assume the album title is slightly ironic.Yet this Austin-based singer-songwriter never dips into the dark without leaving room for light, and even the...

Carrie Rodriguez: She Ain't Me (Manhattan)

Carrie Rodriguez: She Ain't Me (Manhattan)

This alt.country/rock singer out of Austin and Berklee College of Music in Boston came to attention with her 2006 solo album Seven Angels on a Bicycle which won great praise from the likes of Lucinda Williams and Elsewhere for its melodic darkness delivered by Rodriguez in a voice pitched somewhere between innocence and experience. And she...

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Given that this album was produced by Calexico's Joey Burns (who also wrote the music) this one comes as something of a surprise: you might have anticipated some kind of alt.Americana. There is something of that in the music and arrangements in places, but Dissard vocals (all in French) have that whispered, intimate, beguiling quality of the...

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

Marianne Dissard is a woman whose music confounds expectations, yet there is an impeccable logic to it: she is French but lives in Tucson, so there is an almost inevitable marriage of chanson and Americana on her album L’entredeux which was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico, who also wrote the music which envelops and supports...

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

It's a curious thing that in New Zealand where country and alt.country of various persuasions has become increasingly popular that an album like this slips past most people. It slipped past me until very recently, although I'm pleased to note her previous one Red Dirt Angel, didn't go around the judges at the 2009 music awards who picked it as...

Various Artists: Womad New Zealand Sounds of the Planet 2010

Various Artists: Womad New Zealand Sounds of the Planet 2010

Here is the official 14 track compilation of artists at the 2010 Womad in Taranaki (March 12-14) and includes the exotic oud-folk-pop of Kamel el Harrachi, alt-world by Calexico, Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed, the Skatalites, the lively tropicalia-cum-flamenco of Ojos de Brujo . . . As with all such fit-for-purpose sampler items, this is...

Jackie Bristow: Freedom (Ode)

Jackie Bristow: Freedom (Ode)

Singer-songwriter Bristow moved from New Zealand to Austin in 2008 (where this, her third album, was recorded) and it would be easy and convenient to drop her into the alt.country/country category. Certainly on the recent tour with Tami Neilson and Lauren Thomson she fitted into that zone. Those three gals delivered a terrific show which...

Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

Moriarty: Gee Whiz but this is a Lonesome Town (Carte!l/Border)

In an odd reversal of the journey Marianne Dissard took -- from France to Arizona to create Fanco-alt.country -- this group fronted by Rosemary Moriarty out of Ohio (they are Ramones-like all called Moriarty) have an established following in France where they reside for their alt.country, old time folk. With harmonica, double bass, acoustic...

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (carolbean.com)

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (carolbean.com)

This album by peripatetic British-born, LA-raised country-blues rocker singer-guitarist Bean -- now resident in NZ -- has been around the stereo for perhaps so long I forgot to post it. With a tight, revolving door band which includes slippery and earthy guitar by Mike Petrie, Robbie Duncan, Mark Laurent and Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Bean delivers...

Donna Dean: What Am I Gonna Do? (Ode)

Donna Dean: What Am I Gonna Do? (Ode)

When it comes to country music (alt. or country-rock) Donna Dean has the credentials: the gal has done it all -- marriage, kids, divorce, rehab, bars and clubs, opening for the likes of Willie Nelson, Jimmy Webb and the Penn-Oldham team . . . She spent time in London and Europe, recorded her debut album Money with The Amazing Rhythm Aces in...

Sarah McLachlan: Laws of Illusion (Sony)

Sarah McLachlan: Laws of Illusion (Sony)

This prime mover behind the Lilith Fair all-women-artists tours of over a decade ago (and resurrected this year) hasn't released a new album in seven years, so in some quarters expectation must be very high. A gifted, emotionally-driven singer-songwriter, McLachlan here comes out with all guns blasting on the rocking opener Awakenings which...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lauren Thomson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lauren Thomson

Auckland-based singer-songwriter Lauren Thomson released her excellent debut EP Our Love is Due in the closing days of 2007 and on the back of it toured frequently, often with Canadian Tami Neilson and Jackie Bristow. The three of them delivered a terrific package show which thrilled with foot-stomping barroom country rock, or took you to...

Lauren Thomson: Chanteuses and Shotguns (Ode)

Lauren Thomson: Chanteuses and Shotguns (Ode)

Auckland singer-songwriter Thomson deservedly struck lucky when she went to Canada with Tami Neilson to assist on Neilson's follow-up to The Kitchen Sessions Vol 1 . . . Thomson got this new album at the same time. As she writes in the liner notes here, "Playing music and hanging out with the Neilson family in the hot Canadian sun was...

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Session Volume II (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Session Volume II (Ode)

When reviewing her previous album The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1, I noted the promise of the title and looked forward to Auckland-based Neilson getting back around the table in her brother's house in Canada to deliver a follow-up. This time she took with her singer-songwriter Lauren Thomson who plays guitar, sings back-up in places here...

LUCINDA WILLIAMS INTERVIEWED (2011): Darkness from light

LUCINDA WILLIAMS INTERVIEWED (2011): Darkness from light

These are more good days for Lucinda Williams: happily married and comfortable, a Grammy nomination for Kiss Like Your Kiss (best song in a film or television series, it appeared in True Blood) and acclaim from her peers, critics and an increasing fan base. And she has a new album out, Blessed which was produced by Don Was, her husband...

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Tell Me (Nonesuch)

Jessica Lea Mayfield: Tell Me (Nonesuch)

With a languid delivery not dissimilar to Lucinda Williams but with a whole swag more alt.rock in her system, Mayfield certainly keeps excellent company: she appeared on the Black Keys' album Attack and Release (the Keys' Dan Auerbach produced this); she has opened for familiar Elsewhere names such as the Avett Brothers, Ray LaMontagne and Jay...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Marianne Dissard

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Marianne Dissard

French-born but a longtime resident of Tucson, Arizona where she has worked with various members of Calexico, singer/songwriter Marianne Dissard (interviewed here) broke through ina quiet way with her album L'entredeux in 2009 which steered a canny middle path between French chanson and pop, and edgy alt.country. For her new album L'abandon...

Marianne Dissard: L'abandon (Dissard/Rhythmethod)

Marianne Dissard: L'abandon (Dissard/Rhythmethod)

Although her impressive debut album L'entredeux took her to small audience (she sings in French) this Tucson-based singer and film-maker is rather more edgy on this outing which might win her an even bigger following. Dissard -- interviewed here and more recently answering our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here -- lets some of the...

Maggie Bjorklund: Coming Home (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Maggie Bjorklund: Coming Home (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico have become something of a mark of quality when it comes to spacious sounding albums. They certainly showcased Marianne Dissard in that way and here -- even though they don't produce -- they appear with acclaimed pedal steel player Bjorklund from Denmark on an album which has all the...

Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain (Nonesuch)

Emmylou Harris is now 64 but her voice sounds as beautiful as it always was, although it seems a little lower these days, but no less affecting. On this album the woman known for her interpretations of songs by others writes three and co-pens eight others with Will Jennings, which brings a more autobiographical quality to some. The...

The Cave Singers: No Witch (Jajaguwar)

The Cave Singers: No Witch (Jajaguwar)

Over two previous albums this Seattle-based outfit weren't easy to pigeon-hole (alt.country, boho-folk, indie.something?) but were always interesting because of that, and not the least for singer Peter Quirk's distinctive vocals which were “quirky” for want of a better word. Here however they really throw in some visceral and...

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers: Starlight Hotel (Signature/Border)

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers: Starlight Hotel (Signature/Border)

Les alt. than country, Zoe Muth from Seattle invites favourable comparisons with Eilen Jewell and early Emmylou Harris, and a whole host of Nashville writers who are smart enough to still have their hearts in the honky-tonks. These are pedal steel and mandolin stories which cut out the fat and get right down to the sad and lonely bones of...

Katie Thompson: Impossible (Thompson)

Katie Thompson: Impossible (Thompson)

New Zealand singer-songwriter Katie Thompson clearly has a following. This album was funded to the tune of US$50,000 through Sellaband (where supporters chip in for the artist to record an album) and she has just been announced as the opening for an Elton John concert in Dunedin later in the year. That's pretty good for a girl from Hokitika...

Leslie Stevens and the Badgers: Roomful of Smoke (Fuse)

Leslie Stevens and the Badgers: Roomful of Smoke (Fuse)

Although a reviewer for America's No Depression said Stevens' voice reminded of Emmylou Harris' (although confusingly added “but you will never be confused it”) Harris' crystalline sound doesn't come to mind at all for me. (Maybe Melanie's high-pitched folksiness in places.) But this former LA punk has convincingly moved...

Brigitte DeMeyer: Rose of Jericho (BDM)

Brigitte DeMeyer: Rose of Jericho (BDM)

Although now five albums into her career, it is highly likely few have heard of this soulful country-rock singer who here co-produces with Brady Blade. She has a little gospel and blues in her (religion is scattered throughout) and marries that to fiddle and mandolin-coloured tunes which are instantly memorable. And many shine with the...

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