Album Reviews

Rorey Carroll

Love Is an Outlaw

Artist:     Rorey Carroll

Album:     Love Is an Outlaw

Label:     LoHi

Release Date:     10/28/2016


Rorey is a protégé of Todd Snider’s, bringing not only a rebellious spirit to her songs, but a lived-in realism. At a very young age, she lived in her car in cities all around the county and hopped freight trains; she even hiked the entire Appalachian Trail at age 20. She made money playing music to anyone who would listen, from the subways of New York City to the streets of Ohio. She straddled running from the law with her bringing up in a typical Midwestern suburban lifestyle. Her journeys took her to Humboldt, CA, and to the bluegrass world of Asheville. At one point she was busted in Arkansas transporting 27 pounds of weed, resulting in a conviction of a felony at 26 years old. With the help of good lawyers, she eventually got off, counted her blessings and headed to East Nashville to seriously pursue music, eventually drawing the attention of Todd Snider, who took her on the road as an opening act.

Call it “outlaw folk” if you want. Rorey says, “there is no filter on experience, so why should there be in songwriting? People listen to music because it makes them feel something, and a writer’s goal is to relate their experiences with the audience.” The album is essentially a concept of her many interesting experiences. She has a gorgeous, sometimes haunting, easy flowing voice and a natural gift for poetic songwriting. Various studio musicians back her, notably Aaron Lee Tasjan on guitar and Matt Rowland on keys on several tracks. The concluding, sparsely rendered title track, which she performs alone on keys, takes its name taken from Tom Robbin’s masterpiece, Still Life With Woodpecker.  Throughout the album there are some tightly written, often irreverent  stories  centered on loneliness, illicit love and  tramp-like existence woven into these lyrics of the songs that read like a fugitive’s diary – “By the Banks,” “In the Buildings,” “Hotel Room,” “1:42 Night Train,” “Away” and the hoe-down style “I Don’t Know Where I Am Anymore.” The latter two are perhaps the album’s best tracks. She has furnished us with the lyrics in the liners. We all know about outlaw country. We now have Rorey Carroll at the forefront of the outlaw folk movement.

-Jim Hynes

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