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Carrie Rodriguez

A Conversation with Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

PM: Carrie, where and how did you grow up? How big a group?

CR: I grew up in Austin. I was born in Houston, but we moved to Austin when I was a baby. My parents were divorced when I was a toddler, so I basically grew up with my mother, who ended up remarrying a wonderful man, so between the two of them and my--I would see my biological father, too. He's actually a musician, a songwriter. I guess that was probably pretty influential musically, for me, growing up.

PM: What does he play? Is he a guitar player and songwriter?

CR: Yeah. His name is David Rodriguez. He's a Texas songwriter. He moved to Holland about eight or nine years ago. He came up in Houston with Nanci Griffith and Eric Taylor and Townes, stuff like that.

PM: I see, yeah.

CT: So he was from that school of songwriting.

PM: How's it going for him in Holland?

CT: Well, he went over there like what we do on tour, back years ago, and just never left. He kind of fell in love with the lifestyle there. And he's got a girlfriend there and helps to raise her daughters. So he has a kind of quiet life over there.

PM: I see.

CR: But I mostly grew up with my mother, who's a big classical music fan, and I grew up playing classical violin. And I had a small, but very doting, loving family.

PM: Is your mom in Austin?

CR: She is.

PM: What's her name?

CR: Katy Nail. Nail like a hammer and a nail. [For those with a curiosity about family, there is a set of photographs of Chip and Carrie by Bill Groll at AustinAmericana.com and, in the middle of that page, there's a nice portrait of Carrie with her mother and grandmother.]

PM: Speaking of classical, I might have thought that a Berklee education would wreak havoc with somebody's fiddling, but it doesn't seem to have hurt yours any.

CR: Well, I actually went to a classical conservatory first, Oberlin. It's in Ohio.

PM: Oberlin, sure.

CR: That was pretty intense. It's a really great school, but you have to be so motivated. Your end goal has to be "I want to be in a symphony orchestra."

PM: Right.

CR: But I just didn't really have that goal. And I thought, "Well, I don't know if I can put in all these hours." People practiced eight hours a day there.

PM: No doubt.

CR: It was serious.

PM: So do you like to play classical or jazz or anything like that, besides what you're into at the moment?

CR: Lately I haven't, but I do. I love to listen to everything. I mean, my record collection is pretty random. [laughs] And I--it's tough to get back your classical chops once you've been playing fiddle music for a while.

PM: Yeah, you've got to really want them.

CR: It's kind of a different animal.

PM: Yeah.

CR: But a couple years ago, I did a classical recital just to see if I could do it. That was really fun. And every once in a while--my boyfriend is a jazz musician, so we might play some.

PM: Who's that?

CR: He plays tenor saxophone. His name is Javier Vercher.

PM: And where's he out of? Where does he play?

CR: He's out of New York. And he actually played on a track on our first record. But he's on tour right now in Spain with a trio. He's just getting started. It's kind of his first big tour under his own name. But he intends to make a record when he comes back.

PM: Will it be standards or originals?

CR: It'll be tunes he wrote with maybe a couple of standards included. But the record won't come out until April or so.   

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