Carrie Rodriguez has blossomed from a reluctant background singer to a confident lead vocalist in just four albums. Her first solo release demonstrates that she has the chops to lead her own band.
Fans of her duo work with Chip Taylor need not fear that their collaboration has come to an end; Taylor co-produced and wrote or co-wrote all but one tune here. He also plays acoustic guitar, along with jazzman Bill Frisell on electric guitar, Greg Leisz on pedal steel, lap steel, and dobro, Victor Krauss on upright bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums, Jaymer Vercher on saxophone, and Richie Stearns on banjo.
Rodriguez’s fiddle takes a backseat to her lead singing. On the opening/title cut, she demonstrates how to deliver a vocal without working very hard. Her laid back vocal style is reminiscent of a certain Texas icon by the name of Willie Nelson. But unlike many rock singers, where a laid back delivery means a lack of emotion, it eliminates extraneous frills, thereby increasing the music’s impact.
All too often, when someone “goes solo” they loose the part of their musical personality that made them interesting. Soul gets traded in for slickness. On Seven Angels on a Bicycle, Rodriguez manages to retain her unique regional individuality. If you like your music rootsy and real, take a good listen to Seven Angels on a Bicycle.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.