Friday, January 17, 2014

Rodney Crowell returns with new material

I had the chance to interview this legend in '08 (you can find it elsewhere on this blog). I'm always intrigued by what he does. Check out the press release on his new one...

Esteemed musician, songwriter and author Rodney Crowell has teamed up with New West Records to release Tarpaper Sky, his new self-produced album. 

Tarpaper Sky, which is available April 15, comes fast on the heels of Old Yellow Moon, Crowell’s critically lauded collaboration with Emmylou Harris, which is nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award and was named 2013 Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association. 

Crowell has pushed the boundaries of country, folk and roots music long before the term Americana was coined as a genre, making a name for himself and gaining respect as both a songwriter and as an artist. 

Celebrating 40 years of making music, Crowell has created an album that harkens back to some of his most revered and loved works.  Tarpaper Sky would sit comfortably on the shelf right between the chart-topping fan favorite Diamonds and Dirt (1988) and Life Is Messy (1992).

This album marks a reunion of the creative partnership of Crowell and musical accomplice Steuart Smith, who was an integral part of his overall sound during the late ‘80s.  The lyrics and message behind the bittersweet "Long Journey Home" sum it up best, “the simple life tastes sweeter now, you have no need to roam". 

The songs and vibe of Tarpaper Sky are full of warmth and familiarity as if it were a favorite record you would have worn out years ago.  “Frankie Please,” an ode to falling fast for a fast woman rocks like a jukebox classic, as does the two-step ready focus track “Fever on the Bayou” while the touching “God I’m Missing You” and “Grandma Loved That Old Man” resonate with themes that lovers of Crowell have long been drawn to – vivid characters, heartbreak and sentiment for life’s lessons. 

Crowell’s resume could serve as a manual on how to balance commercial success and lifelong artistry while also maintaining integrity.  Not many artists can boast having their music recorded by such a diverse array of artists, from country legends (Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings) to current country stars (Keith Urban, Tim McGraw), to rock legends (Bob Seger, Van Morrison) to blues icons (Etta James) and even electronic artists (Royksopp). 

As an artist or songwriter, he has had songs in the top 10 in every decade since the 1970’s.   Crowell recently penned his own autobiography, “Chinaberry Sidewalks”, and collaborated with poet Mary Karr on a critically acclaimed memoir style album.

A Grammy Award winner, member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association, Rodney Crowell is fully engaged in his musical past, present and future.

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