Given her remarkable apprenticeship in the company of veteran singer/songwriter Chip Taylor, and, following that, an acclaimed series of solo outings that brought stardom on her own, the bar was set exceptionally high for "Give Me All You Got." Her last release, "Love and Circumstance," found her taking a momentary detour via an impressive collection of covers, but even so, it makes her return to original material all the more auspicious.
Fortunately, Rodriguez takes that challenge in stride, and with "Give Me All You Got" the singer/violinist notches up another clear triumph, as well as further reason to note her rapid ascension to the uppermost strata of today's definitive Americana contenders.
That's due in large part to her innate ability to tap into Southern tradition with a decidedly suggestive stance. Even on a song like Devil In Mind, which evokes Goth-like environs, she still manages to exude ample doses of spunk and spark. Likewise, the sassy saunter of Tragic and the playful tease accorded by Whiskey Rubs Thicker Than Blood each reflect the fact that Rodriguez is clearly comfortable in her own skin and especially adept when it comes to music of her own making.
As in any endeavour, confidence is key, and that's evident here in every note and nuance. It's also what makes the easy rolling refrains of Sad Joy, the soulful wail of Cut Me Now and the casual strut that accompanies Brooklyn all the more appealing.
Ultimately, it's also what assures that "Give Me All You Got" remains as teasingly seductive as its title implies. As in any two way exchange, give calls for take, and in this case, it's listeners can be assured they're getting the best Rodriguez has to give.