Carrie Rodriguez 

Love and Circumstances

I don't need a knife/I don't need a gun/I know how to steal your love/I don't want your drugs/I don't want your money/I just wanna steal your love, Carrie Rodriguez sings with seductive sass on "Steal Your Love," a Lucinda Williams song from her new CD on the Berkeley-based Ninth Street Opus label. Rodriguez's soulful mezzo tones are framed by Bill Frisell's gently weeping guitar, and her band's loping, two-beat country-rock groove.

The daughter of Texas singer-songwriter David Rodriguez and a first-rate tunesmith in her own right, the Austin-based singing fiddler, mandolinist, and tenor guitarist delivers only interpretations of others' work on her third solo disc, including songs by Merle Haggard, John Hiatt, Julie and Buddy Miller and, Richard Thompson, M. Ward, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, and her dad. Producer Lee Townsend provides her with elegant folk-country support and augments her band with guest pickers Frisell, Greg Leisz, and Doug Wamble. Her reading of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," backed only by Frisell's guitar and her own mandolin, is particularly haunting.

The ringer is "La Puñalada Trapera" ("The Ragman's Stab"), a waltz popularized in the 1950s by her great aunt, San Antonio-born ranchera singer Eva Garza. One needn't necessarily be conversant in Spanish to feel the passion that flows up from Rodriguez's lungs and trips off her tongue. (Ninth Street Opus)

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