The Live Room stage is resplendent with autumn colours of red and gold, reflecting the turning of the season outside. If the weather outside has turned cooler, however, there is just as much warmth as ever from the audience toward the performers – and vice versa.
Carrie Rodriguez and Luke Jacobs are themselves a fire and ice combination. Rodriguez hails from Austin Texas, with Mexican roots that she explores on her new album, Lola, showcased tonight. With her vivid Hispanic beauty, she brings the fire, while her laconic Minnesotan musical (and life) partner Jacobs brings the ice, with tales of wild camping and ice fishing near the Canadian border.
Rodriguez tells how she started out as a fiddler, before song-writing legend Chip Taylor (author of proto-punk standard Wild Thing) encouraged her to develop her singing voice. The pieces that most appeal to me musically are those that set her gypsy-like fiddle style against the grounding of Jacobs’s almost percussive guitar technique.
The new songs from Lola, her first bi-lingual album, feature strongly. Rodriguez’s great-aunt was a Spanish language musical star in the 1940’s and the album’s I Dreamed I Was Lola Beltrán refers to one of her relation’s contemporaries, as she imagines the glamour and romance of that era.
There is also grittier fare, however, in the form of songs like Llano Estacado, which is a tale of an immigrant family, “1,000 miles from their next of kin”, finding that “the land of opportunity” is not all they expected. “He can’t win,” says Rodriguez, not having to name Trump for the audience to know immediately what she’s talking about. “If he does, we’re staying here,” adds Jacobs. No one has the heart to inform him just what’s going on in this country right now.
As well as the songs in Spanish and English, there are songs that combine the two. Que Manera de Perder started as a Spanish standard, in which the intention was to translate alternate verses into English for Jacobs to sing. In the end, too much of the subtlety of the original was lost, leading Jacobs to write his own English responses.
The first set comes to an end with Jacobs performing a song from his solo album – produced by Rodriguez. Providence and Mystery, from the Velvet After Feel album is introduced with an anecdote about hitching a ride in North Minnesota with a couple who turn out to be drug dealers, all of which is contrasted with his upbringing as the son of a Baptist preacher.
A second set sees Rodriguez reaching further into her back catalogue, as well as further songs from Jacobs, who also shines with his distinctive and effective style of playing slide guitar. However, it’s still very much Rodriguez’s show. Carrie Rodriguez and Luke Jacobs are themselves a fire and ice combination. Rodriguez hails from Austin Texas, with Mexican roots that she explores on her new album, Lola, showcased tonight. With her vivid Hispanic beauty, she brings the fire, while her laconic Minnesotan musical (and life) partner Jacobs brings the ice, with tales of wild camping and ice fishing near the Canadian border.
Two blistering encores reflect the affection between audience and performer that is typical of The Live Room, and its ability to warm the autumnal Yorkshire night with a welcome dose of Texan heat.