"We've travelled a long way to see you all in this living room," says Carrie Rodriguez, with a smile. Ah yes, the Vintage Room at the Workman's Club does, indeed, have a homely feel. Squeezing a small yet attentive Dublin fan base onto couches and stools, and setting up shop in one of the more charming corners of this late-night, city-centre boozer, Carrie (a celebrated Mexican-American singer, songwriter, tenor guitarist and master fiddle player), alongside musical partner Luke Jacobs, are better off keeping things intimate. If anything, it makes us feel like we're in the presence of greatness. And we most certainly are tonight.
Born into a musical family (her dad is a guitar-slinging folkster; her great aunt, a renowned Ranchera singer) the Austin, Texas native has had quite a career thus far, graduating from promising teen prodigy at the Berklee College of Music in Boston to famed collaborator and songstress, releasing five solo albums to date.
Here we have a performer who has toured, recorded and jammed with the very best, from Lyle Lovett to Chip Taylor, and whose latest release topped the Americana charts back home. So, it's high time we got acquainted with Carrie's honeyed vocal and enchanting, rootsy songbook.
Essentially a double bill, Carrie and the aforementioned Jacobs (think Cash and Carter, minus the drama) spark off of one another as they churn out seductive blues numbers (I Don't Mind Waiting) and eerie, lap-steel heart-breakers (Get Back in Love). Naturally, there's a whole lot of foot-stomping, and a great deal of laughter to go with it.
If there is another pair of contemporary, alt-country performers, with as much chemistry, warmth and zeal running through their harmonies and storytelling, then we've yet to see them. It's a beautiful partnership, Jacobs bringing the rhythm and Carrie's beautiful, expressive voice and impassioned delivery taking care of the rest, knocking the wind out of us, even when showcasing her family's native tongue.
The affable Jacobs has a few tricks up his sleeve, too (the bloke somehow managed to turn his first experience with the opera, Faust, into a three-minute, country-and-western tune...bravo, my friend).
Elsewhere, Carrie recalls personal tragedy on the gorgeous Seven Angels on a Bicycle, and displays a more mischievous side on the cracking Devil in Mind. Hers is a voice that could bring almost any room to a hushed silence. Even a living room. Seek her out. HHHHI