Carrie Rodriguez’s excellent new "Give Me All You Got" struts ("I Cry for Love") and swaggers ("Devil in Mind") with effortless elegance. High watermarks spotlight exponential artistic growth ("Sad Joy," "Whiskey Runs Thicker than Blood").
"Most (songs) came as a result of moving back to Austin after living in New York for a decade," she says, "and reconnecting with my Austin family and friends."
Rodriguez performs Tuesday at Waterloo Records and Friday at Stateside at the Paramount Theatre.
American-Statesman: Explain the new album’s title.
Carrie Rodriguez: The (title)’s a line in "Cut Me Now." Even though that’s a Chip Taylor composition, I feel very much like it’s mine. I just relate so much to the tune. As you get older and know more about yourself, you know when it’s time to let go or to jump into something.
Does the album have a common lyrical theme?
A lot of these songs are about feeling intense emotion and talking about it and letting it be out in the open. Not shying away. For example, "I Cry for Love." There’s no other thing in this world that makes us feel that deeply. Love’s been sung about a million times, but we’re always gonna sing about it because it’s what makes us feel the most. I’m not ashamed to say I cry for love (laughs).
There seems to be a sense of defiance when you sing that song.
Yeah, I’d say I feel the strongest when I’m playing and singing for sure. It really comes out there. That’s when I feel the most grounded and connected and unafraid. Then as soon as I get off stage, all my other worries come back (laughs).
You do seem comfortable being a bandleader now.
Yeah, I really enjoy it. It’s taken me a long time to get here. The first few years singing with Chip were so frightening and I was just so shy and unsure. I think it’s just all the years of doing it. I finally am just enjoying it.
How has living in Austin again allowed you to evolve as a songwriter?
It’s given me the mental space to be more creative. Coming home from being on the road when I lived in New York was just so chaotic. All that stimulation can be really exciting and I learned a lot, but coming home to Austin is just so peaceful. I wake up in the morning here in Hyde Park and I hear the birds and I can just take a walk and that’s when I end up writing. The environment is definitely working for me.
Where did "Sad Joy" come from?
That came from a conversation I had with Chip. We were talking about pretty heavy things like family members with terminal illness and deaths of friends (and) how those terribly sad things can also come with a lot of beauty. There’s something about getting together with people even if it’s during a tragic event that brings about a really joyful energy. It’s a communal feeling, a deep connection.
Do you have anything planned with Chip in the future?
We don’t have anything specific planned, but I think we’ll probably do a tour at some point. We sure enjoyed writing together for this record. (Rodriguez and Taylor co-wrote "Devil in Mind" and "Sad Joy.") You know, I included him every step of the way in the recording. I would send him demos and first mixes. It was really fun to be working with him again.