Rodriguez met Taylor while playing fiddle for Lucinda Williams's ex-boyfriend and bass player, Richard Price, in a band called Hayseed. Price took her to see Taylor.
"I didn't have a clue who Chip was," she laughed.
Price explained to her that Taylor wrote "Wild Thing." "But I was amazed at some of the other things he'd written, like 'Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)' that Janis Joplin covered. I was a huge Janis fan."
Price asked Taylor to come see Hayseed play, and after the show, Taylor started hiring Rodriguez to play fiddle for him when he was in Texas. Texas led to touring and an off-hand question.
Taylor asked, "Can you sing harmony?"
Rodriguez lied and told him yes.
"Honestly," she said, "I'd never done any singing before except in the car or in the shower. I took one class at Berklee called 'Singing for Non-Vocalists' because I thought it was an easy A."
Rodriguez said she got a C on her midterm.
"I was terrible."
But Taylor's songs worked for her. They seemed natural, and soon singing harmony became a duet, then two duets and finally a whole album of duets.
Rodriguez toured with Taylor for five years, but early on, she said he told her to start thinking about making a solo record. Over time, she did, and eventually went out on her own. Her sixth record, "Give Me All You Got," is due out early next year.
Still, she said she loved getting together with Taylor to play again.
"My music is a very different style than Chip's," she said. "But it was really nice to sing those old duets again and have something new to bring to them."
Rodriguez can hardly wait to get out on the road for the record next year with guitarist Luke Jacobs, who also co-wrote some of the songs.
"The duo we've got going is just so much fun."
Rodriguez said she's looking forward to the future, but looking back isn't all bad.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.