Charley Crockett talks about new album “Music City USA”


The San Benito, Texas-born artist has a pretty colorful history: a distant relative of Davy Crockett, he’s a two-time convicted former marijuana grower and a self-taught street corner musician who specializes in murderous ballads. . But ask him what his aspirations are and it’s clear he’s much more than a revivalist imitating Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash.

Even now, despite being nominated for Emerging Act of the Year at the Americana Music Awards on September 22, Crockett says his most important victory is that he finally believes himself competent as a storyteller after two decades. – a considerable achievement considering a tale. he remembers a long time ago, when his performance fell short of the expectations of a bar owner.

This bar owner named Smokey Greenwald once threw me off a stage on Decatur Street in New Orleans and said, ‘Get the fk out of here and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to lead. a group with an fk. –ing blues song! ‘ I felt hurt that night, ”Crockett says with a laugh. “I was as pissed off as a mother,” but I haven’t forgotten it.

“Eventually,” he adds, “you learn blues, soul, country – hell, any style, because you want to get paid.”

He then lists his genre inspirations, from R&B artists like Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Bill Withers to “traditional favorites” like George Jones, Hank Williams and Willie Nelson.

“Waylon Jennings once said that R&B and country are on a beat to each other, it’s true,” says Crockett. by R&B techniques and influences because it is an offshoot of traditional country. “

All of these influences inform her new album, including the current single “Round This World, which is based on mythological roots that originated in the High Chiso region of the Chihuahua Desert near Crockett’s birthplace in West Texas. “I focused on putting my energy into the story that was already there,” Crockett says. “Then I started adding my perspective from things I already knew while living my life. Then I added a touch of fiction, which sometimes helps me to make my point better understood.

He digs just as deep into his favorite tones as he discusses the album’s most poignant anthem, “The World Just Broke My Heart.” He says the title “comes from a line that I think I heard in a classic movie or something, and I got hooked on it. It’s easy to write a topical song and draw very generic conclusions about the company; however, I have listened to a few Roger Miller songs, like [1965’s] “The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me,” then I got to work. I had this incredible, grandiose title, and as it often did, I wanted to tie that title to an unexpected prospect. That’s what I love to do – take something huge, make it simple, and then add something personal to it for a twist.

Contemplating City of Music United States as his potential success, Crockett once again recalls the greats that came before him, citing how George Jones released six records in 1966 alone, when it took Willie Nelson 17 solo albums before signing with Columbia Records. and cross with 1975 Red-headed alien.

“I’m a role model like George or Willie,” Crockett explains, “where with every album that I release, I learn as I live – and I make records throughout that process. Ultimately, my level of creativity and my productivity will match my talent. Sure, I’ll be 60 by then, but I know I would have told all the stories I know by then. “

About Elizabeth J. Swartz

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