Rodney Crowell performs with the ease and swagger of a man comfortable in his ways. He carries his songs the way he carries his old guitar: out in the open, no case, almost as an extension of his body.
The man from Crosby, Texas, has been writing country songs for much of his life. At 22, he moved to Nashville and honed his craft with country greats Jerry Reed and Guy Clark. Emmylou Harris would record his song "Till I Gain Control Again," and these days — 40 years later — Crowell is a legend whose songs have been recorded by Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash and the Oak Ridge Boys, among others.
Crowell's commercial success in the late '80s was huge, and in 2003 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Now, he's just released his 14th solo album, Tarpaper Sky, and it's filled with poignant autobiographical songs, marked by brilliant turns of phrase and thoughtful observations. Here, he performs three of its songs, with the aid of backup singers Shannon McNally and Joanne Gardner.
- "Famous Last Words Of A Fool In Love"
- "Jesus Talk To Mama"
- "God I'm Missing You"
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion; Production Assistant: Meredith Rizzo; photo by Meredith Rizzo/NPR