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

The Twitch: Time for Change (Rangi)

The Twitch: Time for Change (Rangi)

The album title is slightly misleading: if it is a time for change then acccording to Auckland's Twitch it is back to the future -- back to stabbing post-punk power-pop with a sharp New Wave... > Read more

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

An album where an artist covers the material of others is hardly a new concept, but you can guess that Peter Gabriel -- the ever sensitive quality controller, with his first album in eight years --... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DubXanne: The Police in Dub (Echo Beach/Yellow Eye)

DubXanne: The Police in Dub (Echo Beach/Yellow Eye)

This is how I like my Police. Without Sting. As with that yelping guy in Yes and few others, I find Sting's voice very hard to take. Although I concede that when I consider their album sales... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Reuben Bradley

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Reuben Bradley

The name of drummer/arranger Reuben Bradley has appeared many times at Elsewhere, but because Elsewhere can't be everywhere we missed one major mention this year. He masterminded, played on and... > Read more