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Taylor and Rodriguez reunite to bring their best to Cactus

Brian T. Atkinson

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez's "The New Bye & Bye" reunites a seamless folk music pairing. The legendary songwriter ("Wild Thing," "Angel of the Morning") and Austin-based fiddler's brief run to support their greatest hits collection stops Wednesday and Thursday at the Cactus Café.

"These few weeks will be so special," Taylor says. "I think it'll probably ignite (us) to do something (again) at some point. For my part, I'd just as soon do this every year."

American-Statesman: Did you write the four new songs (included on 'The New Bye & Bye') with Carrie in mind?

Chip Taylor: I hadn't spoken to Carrie in about three or four months, and she phoned me out of the blue. I felt real light when I got off the phone, and I wrote "Your Name Is on My Lips" in 10 minutes.

How did the title track take shape?

I had written that when the times were all crashing around us, and I thought, "That'd be a nice one for Carrie and I to do." I said, "It starts off with you telling me, 'What the (heck) are you doing, you untrustworthy (expletive).' Could you say that?" She said, "Yeah, I could say that." (He laughs.)

Are you satisfied with how this album represents your output together?

I really love the albums we've done. I think it represents us well because I can't say there's anything in there that I don't like. That being said, I think we could do another "best of," and I'd like it a lot as well. One of the great things about us releasing this album and going on tour is revisiting these songs and finding out again what joy they bring. They bring something magical to the table.

Carrie certainly brings a fresh dynamic to 'Angel of the Morning.'

I never thought of the song being a duet until Carrie and I started singing it together. All of a sudden, there's such a power in it. What we do is phrase together in such a strange, beautiful way that we're always waiting on each other to see where we're going. I get chills all over my body. We throw each other into the unknown every time we sing.

What songs stand out as you rehearse for this short tour?

We played "Big Moon Shinin'" today, and I was on fire from the top of that song to the bottom. It was a total connection that I can't explain. It's otherworldly. That's really noticeable on the ballads, where we can go places. That's when I get that chill like I did the first time I heard the Louvin Brothers on the radio.

Some might say the same about your song 'Jesus Christ — Don't Let the Cactus Fall' (which Taylor released as a single earlier this year).

The Cactus (Café) is special to me. It's a very reverent place. I know I'm just a visitor, but I walk in there and feel like I'm home. You give your total honest self when you play places like that. You are who you are because you play places like that. It's a very welcoming thing to be there.

For any performer, you want to have a room where the sound is good and you're comfortable. But once that's taken care of, you want a place where you feel warmth from the people.

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez

When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday

Where: The Cactus Café, 24th and Guadalupe streets, on the UT campus

Cost: $15.

Information: 475-6515, cactuscafe.thundertix.com

They also play a free show at Waterloo Records at 5 p.m. Wednesday, 600-A N. Lamar Blvd. 474-2500, waterloorecords.com