Rodney Crowell: The Houston Kid (Sugar Hill)

 |   |  1 min read

Rodney Crowell: Why Don't We Talk About It
Rodney Crowell: The Houston Kid (Sugar Hill)

Rodney Crowell's star has been in steady decline since the 80s and now the former son-in-law of Johnny Cash and rockin' country singer-songwriter is on the same minor label as Dolly Parton who also seems to prefer a smaller label.

On first hearing, the quasi-autobiographical The Houston Kid sounds uneven, but after a few plays its power as a series of narratives kicks in.

Crowell has dropped the rock attack of earlier years and with a small band places emphasis on stories which bristle with images and a sense of place ("in the shadow of the Astrodome with a hurricane coming on strong").

There are a few workmanlike songs (Why Don't We Talk About It, and U Don't Know How Much I Hate U which isn't hip-hop despite the title) but the melancholy first-person stories are moving: The Rock of My Soul is about the soul trap of "another Houston kid on a downhill skid, like father like son" and I Wish it Would Rain is a "cracker gigolo dressed up like trick or treat" living in LA with "the virus flowing way down in my veins."

He pays homage to his former father-in-law on I Walk the Line (Revisited) with Cash guesting and Highway 17 is a spoken word story of irony and bad luck.

Crowell was one of those promising country-to-rock singer-songwriters who was always going to be big tomorrow.

That won't happen this far into his career, but this is a very good tomorrow for him, and us, to be enjoying.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: JImi Hendrix, Cry of Love (Sony)

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: JImi Hendrix, Cry of Love (Sony)

Long out of print (although not unavailable) and derided (unfairly) by some, Cry of Love was the first posthumous, artificially created album after Hendrix's death. Cry of Love has awkward... > Read more

Belle and Sebastian: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador)

Belle and Sebastian: Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Matador)

One of the must-see acts at Laneway, B&S from Scotland have over two decades quietly built a large fanbase for their gorgeously melodic, cleverly literate and often wry pop-rock which owes... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Guangzhou, China: The sour smell of respect

Guangzhou, China: The sour smell of respect

When you travel to foreign parts it is good to be respectful of local customs, and usually they are common courtesies or pretty obvious: you don’t wear shorts or a halter-top to St Peters --... > Read more

Europe, America and Elsewhere: Idiocy spoken here

Europe, America and Elsewhere: Idiocy spoken here

In New York's Village Voice, for 20 years until 1995, there was a weekly comic strip called Stan Mack's Real Life Funnies in which artist Mack guaranteed all the dialogue was a genuine, overheard... > Read more