Saturday, June 29, 2013

Carrie Rodriguez and Fulton Sanders @ the VaC (6/25/13)

I'd heard good things about Austin musician Carrie Rodriguez--anybody who can open for Lucinda Williams will be worth seeing, I figure--but I missed her at the VaC last August.  When I saw that she'd be coming back, then, I jumped at the chance to check her out.

I counted over fifty people when I arrived at the VaC.  When Carrie Rodriguez played, I counted around ninety.  Most of the crowd looked to be in their forties or older.  I imagined that the young'uns were freaking out to Wooden Indian Burial Ground over at Neurolux (and judging from the crowd I saw there later, I was right).  In any case, a good turnout.

Local duo Fulton Sanders opened the show.  At one point, Steve Fulton told the audience that he'd received a message on Facebook before the show: "I hope you don't play too long, Steve!  I want to go home early tonight."  No one seemed to mind the length of his and Shon Sanders's set, however.  Between their clean, sweet harmonies, their smoothly funky rhythms and their weaving guitars, I certainly didn't.  Listening to Fulton croon through a clenched jaw a la George Jones, I realized that he doesn't just work with good singers (e.g. Catherine Merrick); he's a pretty respectable one in his own right.  Sanders' lower, smokier voice complemented Fulton's tenor nicely.

Carrie Rodriguez played next with guitarist Luke Jacobs.  Between this set and Fulton Sanders', Merle Haggard songs played on the VaC's speakers.  "Wow," I said to myself.  "That's setting the bar a little high." However, with her well-groomed tunes and conversational, offhandedly sharp lyrics, Rodriguez met that challenge.  Indeed, her yearning, gorgeous ballad "Get Back in Love," her impressionistic narrative "Seven Angels On a Bicycle" and her sassy rocker "I Cry for Love" didn't sound too shabby at all next to her and Jacobs's duet on "Today I Started Loving You Again."  Of course, it didn't hurt that Rodriguez has to be one of the sliest, sultriest singers I've heard in a good long while.  Most welcome as well were her shredding violin solos and Jacobs's nimble picking and jolting slide.  The crowd whooped, clapped, snapped and stomped during the rowdier numbers.  During the softer ones, they were so quiet that I grew a bit self-conscious over my pen's clicking.  Easily one of the best performances that I've seen so far this year.

You can find info on Steve Fulton, Shon Sanders and Carrie Rodriguez on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Sam Stimpert and the Visual Arts Collective.  If you like what you've read and would like to help keep it going, click the yellow "Give" button and donate whatever you can.  Even $5 would help.

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