Rodriguez, aka Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, Rod Riguez, and Jesus Rodriguez, released a pair of albums, “Cold Fact” and “Coming from Reality,” in 1970 and 1971. His music was influenced by Bob Dylan’s, but it had the hard edge of his native Detroit and was often political in nature. It went nowhere in America, and Rodriguez eventually dropped out of the music scene, earning a living as a demolition worker while pursuing a PhD in philosophy at Wayne State University. But the story turned out to have a Part Two. Abroad, Rodriguez was discovered in several countries, most notably of all in South Africa. There, the songs on “Cold Fact” became anthems of the anti-apartheid movement, and Rodriguez acquired a cadre of fans who circulated a false rumor that he had died. After running unsuccessfully for the Detroit city council, Rodriguez came back to public notice in his home country after a documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man,” explored the circumstances surrounding the death hoax and won notice at the Sundance Film Festival. Now, Rodriguez is back, with a new album, successful tours, and an appearance on “60 Minutes” to his credit. His personality, idealistic and eccentric, is like a time capsule from the 1960s, and the word “unique” is insufficient to describe his talent.
Rodriguez to play Ann Arbor Folk Festival in January 2013