Listen Up: Wednesday, September 12, 2007
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
PrinceRodriguez

Songs from the Sod
(Reload Record Company)

By Tom Geddie

Songs from the Sod, the second album from Fort Worth’s PrinceRodriguez, is a mostly enjoyable country-blues-rock romp with a bit of gypsy outlaw in its blood. When Jeff Prince and Phillip Rodriguez have fun here — musically or lyrically — it’s easy to enjoy their work. When they take their material too seriously, they tend to edge toward production clichés rather than letting everything flow naturally.
Prince’s “Call Me an Artist” is an appealing, playful country song that declares, “You oughta call me an artist the way I’m paintin’ this town.” Their co-written, vaguely bluegrass “Big River” begins with a child’s memory of watching a river “take away everything that [he] had” and then ties it to the man’s life. The chorus urges, “Big river, keep rolling along / Take my heart, take my soul, take my mind / Down to the Gulf of Mexico.”
The only one of the 10 songs they didn’t write is Jim Cleveland’s “Raining in New Orleans,” which could have, topically, been about Katrina. Instead, it’s just raining while a man figures out where his life went wrong.
The only quibble is that Prince and Rodriguez add slightly intrusive background vocals in otherwise perfect places or a little too much accordion or guitar here or there. While production values are always, or should be, personal choices, it’s easy to forget — in an age of excess — that less can mean more.
Prince, who writes for Fort Worth Weekly, plays lead guitar, Rodriguez plays guitar and mandolin, and they share lead vocals. Songs of the Sod seems to be a work of passion that would be even better with more restraint in the studio.


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