Monday, March 13, 2017

Rodney Crowell's new album Close Ties out March 31

Rodney Crowell remembers his old runaround crew Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt on "Nashville 1972" from Close Ties.

The Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell is set to release Close Ties on March 31st via New West Records.  The 10-song set is his first album in over three years and follows The Traveling Kind, his acclaimed collection of duets with longtime collaborator Emmylou Harris.  Co-produced by Jordan Lehning and Kim Buie, the album features a duet with Sheryl Crow on the haunting “I’m Tied To Ya,” and “It Ain’t Over Yet,” a vocal collaboration with his ex-wife Rosanne Cash and John Paul White.

The album's latest single “Nashville 1972” is accompanied by a video (see below) directed by Reid Long on 16mm black-and-white film and includes archival and modern images depicting the Nashville Crowell arrived in over 40 years ago and the Nashville in which he currently lives.  It’s lyrics namecheck Guy & Susanna Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall and others.  While speaking about the song, Crowell stated, “You learn that writing is work, and all of us young guys in those formative years figured out that you just slept during the day and stayed up all night, at first in pursuit of girls and then in pursuit of the perfect song.”  He continued, “With the poor man’s salons where we hung out, sitting around drinking and sharing songs, when you were working you’d be trying to come up with something that you could be proud of when it was your turn to play one.”

Close Ties is a loose concept record that ranges from songs about Crowell’s childhood in Texas (“East Houston Blues”) to songs about arriving in Nashville as a young songwriter (“Nashville 1972”) to songs about friends (the anguished “Life Without Susanna”) and lovers lost (“Forgive Me, Annabelle”).  It is a roots record, in the sense that Crowell himself has deep roots that stretch back into Music City's outsider country scene of the early seventies that included Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, Larry Jon Wilson, Mickey Newbury and more.

But Close Ties defies easy classification.  Is it country?  Is it a singer-songwriter record?  “I have declared my loyalty to Americana.  It’s a hard category for people to get their heads around, or at least the terminology is.  But all the people who represent it - Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Lucinda Williams and more recent stars like John Paul White and Jason Isbell - share a common thread, and that thread is poet.  Whether they are actual poets or their music exemplifies a poetic sensibility, generally speaking, the Americana artist shuns commercial compromise in favor of a singular vision.  Which resonates with me.”  One trait of a poet and the concept behind Close Ties involved the careful handling of memory.  “A few years ago I made a record called The Houston Kid that triggered Chinaberry Sidewalks (his 2011 memoir), ” he says.  “Those memory muscles are pretty strong in me.  They have a natural pull.  And so many of these songs use those memories as raw material.”

Fifty years after Crowell first started playing as a teen in Houston garage bands, he has moved into elder-statesman territory, and continues to extend the path carved out by the top-tier songwriters who preceded him.  His songs have been recorded by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait), to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James) to rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger).   He is a Grammy award winner, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association.

Close Ties track listing:
1. East Houston Blues
2. Reckless
3. Life Without Susanna
4. It Ain’t Over Yet (featuring Rosanne Cash & John Paul White)
5. I Don’t Care Anymore
6. I’m Tied To Ya (featuring Sheryl Crow)
7. Forgive Me Annabelle
8. Forty Miles From Nowhere
9. Storm Warning
10. Nashville 1972

Rodney Crowell On Tour
March 14 – Aspen, CO @ Wheeler Opera House
March 15 – Fort Collins, CO @ Bohemian Nights
March 16 – Boulder, CO @ eTown
March 18 – Nashville, TN @ TPAC at Andrew Jackson Hall
March 23 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads
March 24 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Nightclub
March 25 – Chicago, IL @ City Winery Chicago
March 30 – New York, NY @ City Winery New York
March 31 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
April 1 – Washington, DC @ The Hamilton
April 7 – Austin, TX @ Darrel K. Royal Homecoming Show Honoring Guy Clark & Tamara Saviano
April 14 – Virginia City, NV @ Piper's Opera House
April 16 – Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley
April 22 – Fort Worth, TX @ Ft. Worth Main Street Arts Festival
May 6 – Madisonville, TX @ MSCA Pavilion
May 7 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Lobero Theatre
May 9 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
May 10 – Berkeley, CA @ Freight & Salvage
May 12 – Portland, OR @ Alberta Rose Theatre
May 13 – Olympia, WA @ Capitol Theater
July 22 – Telluride, CO @ Americana Festival - Sheridan Opera House
August 27 – Fayetteville, AR @ Main Stage at Fayetteville Roots Festival
September 16 – Bristol, VA @ Bristol Rhythm & Roots
September 22 – Amesbury, MA @ Amesbury Harvest Fair & Country Music Festival
September 23 – Boothbay Harbor, ME @ The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor

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