After years of touring with Lucinda Williams and Alejandro Escovedo, then a fruitful partnership with songwriter emeritus Chip Taylor ("Wild Thing," "Angel of the Morning"), Carrie Rodriguez was ready for some "me" time. The fiddler and guitarist moved back to her native Austin after a decade in New York, and now returns to the road with not one but two new albums: We Still Love Our Country, a suite of duets with Minneapolis-based Romantica lead singer Ben Kyle, and Love and Circumstance, due out at the end of the month. Even though it's all covers, Circumstance may be Rodriguez's most personal recording to date, rounding up songs by her mentors and biggest influences (Williams, Hank Williams Sr., Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt) and honoring her musical family on father David's "When I Heard Gypsy Davy Sing" and aunt Sosa Tomas Mendez's "La Puñalada Trapera." Lovingly rendered by Rodriguez and a cast of A-list acoustic musicians (Buddy Miller, Greg Leisz, Bill Frisell), Circumstance brings the lifelong musician and longtime sidewoman front and center, at long last establishing Rodriguez as one of Americana's biggest up-and-comers.
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