Maddy Rodriguez


[From Last FM] When Maddy Rodriguez defines herself, she does so without hesitation, saying simply: “I write songs.” For the Toronto-based singer/songwriter and recording artist, music means everything. “It’s life,” she adds. On her debut independent record, Don’t Be A Stranger, Rodriguez shares her musical and personal life with a 12-song set of acoustic guitar based, country/pop that dwells on meeting every challenge and transition in life – large or small – head on and without regret. In fact, the title track, the final song written for the record, is about a major transition Rodriguez was making during the recording process, graduating from high school and saying goodbye to some of her closest friends. “For the title track to be a song dedicated to my friends was perfect. It sums up the record and where I am right now.” Produced largely by Greig Nori (Treble Charger, Sum 41, Hedley), and recorded at various Toronto area studios, Don’t Be A Stranger concerns itself equally with letting go of the past and welcoming the future. In her songs, Rodriguez displays as much gratitude for positive experiences as she does for the knowledge she’s gained during difficult times. “It’s about learning what to leave behind and what to hold on to,” she says, “to get you to the other side, smiling.” Don’t be a Stranger depends heavily on Rodriguez’ substantial songwriting chops and her ability to make her point simply and eloquently. While she clearly possesses ample vocal chops, Rodriguez’ performances are never showy. In every case – from upbeat tracks like lead single ‘Don’t Play With My Heart’ to ballads like ‘Go On And Leave’, she always takes care to serve the song. Rodriguez also shows remarkable depth as a storyteller. Her lyrics are a fluid blend of hopeful innocence, unvarnished truth and simple wisdom that, frankly, songwriters with far more life experience and studio time behind them might struggle to achieve. The album reads like a scrapbook, each song a snapshot of the various challenges and triumphs she and her friends have experienced while growing up – from heartbreaks to mean girls to crushes to absent fathers. She may be very young, but Rodriguez’ take on love and loss is truly universal; a candid examination of situations we’ve all found ourselves in, and of emotions felt just as deeply by young and old alike. At a time when new artists are forced to run the gauntlet of the music industry’s hit-making machine before ever getting a shot at being themselves, Rodriguez is a breath of fresh air. She’s an undeniably fresh voice on the Canadian country music scene, and a talented young songwriter with a knack for penning songs that are instantly relatable to listeners age fifteen to fifty. While Maddy Rodriguez doesn’t expect her songs to change the world, she’s hopeful they’ll change one small part of it for those who hear them, if just for a moment, which is both the driving force behind Don’t be a Stranger, and the reason she began singing and writing in the first place.

Artist / AlbumYearCreditPurchase
Maddy Rodriguez
Don't Be A Stranger
Mar 2012
Phil Demetro