David Rodriguez

Proud Heart – 2006 (Recovery)

Reviewed by Brian T. Atkinson

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CDs by David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez palled around Austin and Houston with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark in the 1970s. It's obvious that he learned more than a trick or two about songwriting from the masters. Rodriguez blends Clark's narrative flair with Van Zandt's knack for colorful imagery into his own unique tales of yearning and redemption.

"Proud Heart" is a compelling portrait of a Texan searching for his true heartbeat outside the Lone Star State. (Rodriguez moved to the Netherlands around the time of the disc's European release in 1995.) The stark "The Other Texas" best captures the moods of a man on the cusp of moving away - it's at once hopeful and sorrowful, excited and nostalgic. Rodriguez might live a world away today, but he didn't abandon his roots. Songs like "Streets of Old Milan" and "Beautiful Rider" are tailor-made for a songwriting haven like The Cactus Caf+ in Austin, and "Run With Me" embodies the rebellious spirit of his southern Texas origins.

At its most basic level, the whole of "Proud Heart" shows where his daughter, Carrie Rodriguez, inherited her significant musical talents. It also serves as a forceful reminder that songwriters true to their art can be noble craftsmen. (Recovery, Box 66274, Houston, TX 77266, 713-520-5791; David Rodriguez, davidrodriguez.nl, dr@wanadoo.nl)