Carrie Rodriguez came to play September 19 at the Bluebird Theater in Denver. And play she did. In fact, if there was a Most Valuable Player on this night, Rodriguez was the clear winner.
Rodriguez, the versatile performer of alt-country/folk/Americana who grew up in Austin, Texas, not only opened the show for master showman Alejandro Escovedo, but also played fiddle and contributed background vocals for the entire set with the accomplished-yet-under-the-radar-headliner. Talk about a team player who goes the distance.
And she excelled throughout the night on all levels. Wearing an alluring black dress, with matching high heels and her jet black hair in tight curls accentuated by a white silk flower, Rodriguez looked more like a glamorous chanteuse than a bow-waving rocker.
Touring throughout the fall with Back Porch Records teammate Escovedo to promote her second solo release, She Ain’t Me, Rodriguez mixed it up during her 10-song, 45-minute set, switching from Mandobird to acoustic guitar to her trademark fiddle, where she definitely is on top of her game.
As she hit the stage at 8 sharp, with only about 60 people in the slow-arriving Friday night crowd, a demure Rodriguez remarked how quiet it was in the theater, but guaranteed it wouldn’t stay that way for long. With a backing band that included Hans Holzen on electric guitar and Kyle Kegerreis on upright bass, Rodriguez backed that up with a lively performance, playing five songs from She Ain’t Me, including a Latin-flavored version of the title track.
Among the other highlights in her set: Holzen’s blazing guitar work that brought a broad smile to Rodriguez’s pretty face on “50’s French Movie”; a cover of Dirk Powell’s “Waterbound,” a song Rodriguez said she had to make in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005; and Rodriguez’s fiddling fury throughout the crowd-pleasing closer, the Texas hoedown-style “Never Gonna Be Your Bride,” a song she co-wrote with former collaborator Chip Taylor for her debut album, Seven Angels on a Bicycle.