I've become a big fan of Mr Crowell's over the past few years, it's great to still hear real music with meaning. This selection of songs are great my fave's are ' God I'm Missing You ', 'Fever On The Bayou ', The Flyboy & The Kid ', Frankie Please ',but I still think ' Fate's Right Hand ' is his best work, a 5********** album. My wife and I got to meet him last year when we saw him in concert, it's always nice to meet someone I admire.
Rodney Crowell is not the most prolific of artists having released just sixteen albums in 37 years. But reviews of his albums have always been liberally festooned with stars and his influence upon contemporary country music has been considerable.
Now, on his latest release, Crowell has revisited his own roots and influences with eleven original songs written with his characteristic melodic and literate flourishes.
"Frankie Please" is unashamed rock 'n' roll a la Jerry Lee with some hot guitar and stompin' piano and "Somebody's Shadow" is a honky tonk blues number with atmospheric bar room piano and raunchy tenor sax. Meanwhile "Fever On The Bayou" - co-written with Will Jennings - adds a touch of Cajun to the Nashville sound and "The Flyboy And The Kid" is Texan Americana defined, with accordion, mandolin and dobro adorning some of Crowells finest lyrics.
Among the slower numbers there are a couple of gorgeous love songs including the yearning country waltz "I Wouldn't Be Me Without You" and a poignant duet with Sharon McNally, "Famous Last Words Of A Fool In Love". Then, with just a simple acoustic guitar and a sweet piano, Crowell delivers a heart wrenching reading of "God, I'm Missing You" that he wrote with Mary Karr.
From the opening track "The Long Journey Home", which sounds like it could have been a collaboration with Springsteen, to the closing county folk of "Oh What A Beautiful World" and dedicated to John Denver, "Tarpaper Sky" references Rodney Crowell's continuing journey through life told in his own words and music. He has rarely sounded in better voice and it stands among his very best work, full of hooks, memories, influences, emotions and bittersweet reflections.
Following Rodney Crowell’s sublime collaboration with Emmylou Harris, any subsequent works could only possibly be on a par with that difficult “second album”. Buyers of the earlier work will have their expectations so high as to be set up for disappointment.
Fortunately, whilst not quite coming up to the mark of Old Yellow Moon, on which there was an unbelievable chemistry between the two singers, Crowell puts in a solid performance which should more than please his existing and new followers.
The standouts for me are the opener, The Long Journey Home, which I could hear Springsteen making into a stadium rocker, and The Flyboy & The Kid, which has a feel reminiscent of some of Crowell’s earlier work from The Houston Kid on, as does I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You. Frankie Please evokes memories of Eddie Cochrane and Jesus Talk To Mama has a gospel feel that would have suited Elvis. There’s also the blues-inflected Somebody’s Shadow to further show Crowell’s range of influences, but that still leaves plenty of room for Country.
For me, the only song that doesn’t quite work is Fever On The Bayou, which feels a little self-consciously derivative, churning out the clichés about Jolie Blond and Louisiana Queens, and seems to be tucked into second place so as not to deter further listening but to have been more-or-less forgotten by the end of the record.
If that was indeed the intention, it kind of works. Only an old curmudgeon like me would even bring it up.
I bought this album on the strength of rave reviews on Amazon . Up to then I had been aware of Rodney Crowell only as a sideman of Emmylou Harris . This morning I ventured into the listening room ( aka the lounge ) and slipped it on the CD player looking for a pleasant country background sound while I read the Guardian . My socks were well and truly blown off . The Guardian remained unopened .
Good writing, expert musicians, thoughtful lyrics, and great melodies. If you like country you'll love this album. I first heard of Rodney through Emmylou's Hot Band, who I also saw in concert in Glasgow some years ago - and I have been following his music ever since.
After a few years on other projects Rodney Crowell returns with his first solo record since 2008 - following in the form the career highs of 'The Houston Kid', 'Fate's Right Hand' & 'The Outsider' we find RC in the same song writing form. This time a tad more mellow looking back on his life and with songs dedicated to Guy Clark & John Denver. It lacks the the immediacy of some of his former work but there's plenty to discover here. Featuring regular sideman Will Kimbrough and co-produced with part-time Eagle Steuart Smith. Opening with The Long Journey Home RC's lookng back at his life hence the title Tarpaper which I believe is a a heavy coated paper used on roofs to keep the water out! The mood is reflective and at times upbeat, with the stand song one of his best 'Famous Last Words of a Fool In Love'. Not quite up there with 'Fate's Right Hand' but still a wonderful record, now for some UK dates.
I purchased this CD on my sons recommendation and was so surprised that I actually detracted from my usual purchases of my favourite musical artists and wondered why I've never heard of Rodney Crowell before. I like his style, sound and the individuality of his songs. I was so impressed I purchased one of his other albums called Houston Kid which is equally as good as Tarpaper Sky.
Being a great fan of Rodney Crowell means you have very high expectations with every record you haven't heard. We,, this was one unheard and it was beyond every expectation I could have. Just excellent, every song is a masterpiece.