Concert preview: Carrie Rodriguez opens her heart on Give Me All You Got

By Columbus Alive
From the February 6, 2014 edition

On “Brooklyn,” the penultimate track on Carrie Rodriguez’s fourth full-length solo album, Give Me All You Got, the Austin-based musician sings about trying to “get at the core of what’s going on in [her] heart.”

It’s a process the once-guarded singer/songwriter has steadily warmed to over time, allowing more of her own personality to bleed through in the music, which draws upon an inviting stew of country, pastoral folk and Americana.

“I think it’s getting older,” said Rodriguez, 35, reached in late January en route to a tour stop in Atlanta. “Every year I worry less about what other people think. You become less self-conscious and more aware of this idea that we all experience the same emotions.

“‘Brooklyn’ is probably one of the most autobiographical tunes I’ve written so far, and I don’t think my 25-year-old self would have been comfortable sharing as much, but it feels more genuinely me than anything else I’ve written. The more vulnerable we allow ourselves to be the more we can connect with other people.”

Growing up, the Texas native never doubted she’d pursue a career in the arts, and she’s always embraced music as a means to foster a sense of personal connection. Her mother, Katy Nail, an accomplished painter, would frequently spend untold hours listening to opera while hunched over a canvas, and her father, David Rodriguez, is a well-known musician and songwriter who cast such a formidable shadow that for many years a younger Carrie resisted any urge to pick up a pen.

“I do think [his reputation] scared me away from [songwriting] for a long time,” said Rodriguez, who started playing the violin in kindergarten in part because she could hide behind the instrument and let the music handle all of her talking. “My dad is a different kind of writer. He really is a poet, so his songs are dense, where I tend to lean toward simple songs.

“When I first started I guess I thought if I wasn’t at that level then I shouldn’t even bother trying. I hadn’t really found my voice yet — and I’m still finding it — but it’s been good to learn I don’t have to follow any one path.”