CD reviews

Carrie Rodriguez

Carrie Rodriguez

Give Me All You Got/Ninth Street Opus

I always love it when an artist seems to savor moving outside of the safe parameters the record label would like to have her stay in.

Carrie Rodriguez is a great example of that.

Back in 2001, while she was performing with a band at South By Southwest (SXSW), Rodriguez was discovered by songwriter Chip Taylor, best known for writing the ’60s classic “Wild Thing.”

Rodriguez basically became Taylor’s muse, and the two musicians recorded and toured together.

But Rodriguez refused to stay comfortable, and throughout her career she’s kept that adventurous spirit.

That spirit shines through on her latest release, “Give Me All You Got.”

Folks that have grown to love Rodriguez’s Americana sound needn’t worry that the artist has decided to make a hard left turn and record a punk rock album. Still, listening to tracks such as “Devil in Mind,” “Lake Harriet” and “Whiskey Runs Thicker than Blood” makes you realize that even though Rodriguez might stick to a particular genre, she definitely isn’t making the same album over and over.

The music on “Give Me All You Got” seems laid back and unhurried, as if Rodriguez made the album for the sheer enjoyment of doing so. That relaxed yet professional attitude definitely works for her.

Local fans will get a chance to hear what Rodriguez has to offer in person when she performs at the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street on June 15 with special guest Rachel Kate Gillon.

Key Tracks: “Devil in Mind,” “Lake Harriet,” “Whiskey Runs Thicker than Blood”

Dudley Taft

Deep Deep Blue/American Blues Artist Group

You can hear the power behind Dudley Taft’s guitar playing less than a minute into “Meet Me in the Morning,” the leadoff track on his latest CD, “Deep Deep Blue.”

The slashing guitar notes on that track, as well as on “The Waiting,” remind you of blues masters such as Stevie Ray Vaughan or Gary Moore.

Taft is not just some one-trick blues pony. Here’s a fun fact about the guitarist; he and Phish’s Trey Anastasio met in prep school and formed their first band, Space Antelope.

“Deep Deep Blue” finds the songwriter exploring other genres, including Americana (“Wishing Well”) and even spaghetti western (“God Forbid”). He also turns in three well-chosen and well- performed covers, including Lou Reed’s “Sally Can’t Dance,” Freddie King’s “Palace of the King” and the aforementioned “Meet Me in the Morning” by Bob Dylan.

Among the original tracks, “Wishing Well,” “Bandit King” and the album’s title track, all demonstrate that Taft knows his way around a guitar and has a gift for song writing. He may not be a household name yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time.

Key Tracks: “Sally Can’t Dance,” “Deep Deep Blue,” “Wishing Well”

Frank Bang & The Secret Stash

Double Dare/Blue Hoss

When you can claim to have played regularly with a blues legend such as Buddy Guy, it would seem like you would rarely have to prove yourself as a true blues artist.

Frank Bang did indeed play with Guy, one of the greatest living blues guitarists, and on his latest CD, Bang takes his band, The Secret Stash, through some pretty scorching paces.

Bang, who plays guitar, lap steel and dobro, is one of those blues artists who seems to have two speeds: standing still and wide open, full bore.

If down and dirty slide guitar blues, the kind of stuff you expect from the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt and Guy is your cup of tea, then you’ll be rocking out in no time to tracks such as “Lose Control,” “God Fearin’ Man” and the album’s title track.

Elsewhere on the album, Bang tries his hand at more acoustic-minded songs such as “Wonder Woman” and “My Own Country Way.”

One of my personal favorites from the CD, “18 Wheels of Hell,” has a distinctive country music vibe in the spirit of great story songs like “Convoy.”

After touring the world with Guy, it stands to reason that Bang puts on a decent live show. Here’s hoping he brings his band to the Lowcountry soon so local blues fans can experience what this artist has to offer in a live setting.

Key Tracks: “Double Dare,” “Lose Control,” “18 Wheels of Hell”

By Devin Grant