Origin: Crosby, Texas
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What a man writes in music and with words can reveal the soul within. Rodney Crowell, an American musician known primarily for his work as a singer and songwriter of country songs, was influenced by songwriters Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Crowell played guitar and sang for three years in Emmylou Harris’ “Hot Band.”
Crowell has won two Grammy Awards in his career, one in 1990 for Best Country Song for “After All This Time” and one in 2014 Best Americana Album for Old Yellow Moon. Crowell wrote his story, and his own career biography from his current label New West Records, reviews the insightful content within:
“We meet in the pages of his 2011 memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks, someone we thought we knew: the wiry and slender guitarist in Emmylou Harris’s first Hot Band, the young protégé of Guy Clark and Mickey Newbury, the icy cool country star and Grammy winner of the 1980s, the long time professional partner and husband of Rosanne Cash, the Cherry Bombs bandmate of Vince Gill and Tony Brown, the comeback kid of the 2000s whose incisive, quasi-autobiographical album cycle secured him a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association.
We recognize the wrinkles and complexities and wounds that would make his lyrics so relatable and shaded. We discover why Crowell has said that in the genetic mingling of his articulate, word-loving mother and his country musician father, he believes he was born to write songs.”
Crowell got his first big taste of pop songwriting success with “Shame on the Moon.” The song was recorded on the 1982 album The Distance by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band. Glenn Frey joined Seger on background harmony on the song. Appealing to a broad cross-section of listeners, the song spent four weeks at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart, topped the adult contemporary chart and placed in the Top 15 of the country chart in early 1983. The song’s dark, poetic and hypnotic style helped boost Crowell’s cult status.
Crowell was married to Rosanne Cash (daughter of Johnny Cash), from 1979 to 1992 and they had an influence on each other’s careers, with Crowell producing most of her albums during that period and her success influencing his songwriting. They collaborated on a number of duets, including 1988’s “It’s Such a Small World.” Although Crowell and Cash are now divorced, they remain on friendly terms, performing together occasionally.
Rodney Crowell was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003 with fellow inductees Hal Blair, Paul Overstreet and John Prine. In 2015, Crowell provided background vocals on “It Doesn’t Hurt Right Now”, a song he co-wrote with Jewel for her album, Picking Up the Pieces.
Just before 2017’s New Year began, Crowell released a music video for the song “It Ain’t Over Yet,” which features guest vocals from Rosanne Cash and John Paul White as well as harmonica from Mickey Raphael. The song appears on his forthcoming album Close Ties, which was released in 2017. It has been confirmed that the album also features a duet with Sheryl Crow titled “I’m Tied To Ya.”
Crowell and Cash have three daughters, Caitlin, Chelsea, and Carrie, and together raised Hannah, Rodney’s daughter from a previous marriage. He married Claudia Church in 1998 and they share a home south of Nashville with their dog, Mono.
Rodney Crowell contributed a version of “Tobacco Road” for the forthcoming A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk set for release in the near future. Meanwhile, K-ZAP 93.3 FM is spinning it over the air and on our stream at this URL: K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/
Ain’t Living Long Like This (1977)
But What Will the Neighbors Think (1980)
Rodney Crowell (1981)
Street Language (1986)
Diamonds & Dirt (1988)
Keys To The Highway (1989)
Life Is Messy (1992)
Let The Picture Paint Itself (1994)
Jewel Of The South (1995)
The Houston Kid (2001)
Fate’s Right Hand (2003)
The Outsider (2005)
Sex And Gasoline (2008)
Kin: Songs By Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell (2012)
Old Yellow Moon (2013)
Tarpaper Sky (2014)
The Traveling Kind (2015)
Close Ties (2017)