Rodney Crowell Returns With New Album

Article Contributed by New West Records | Published on Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Multi-Grammy Award winning troubadour 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.  It is the first time Crowell and Cash have appeared on record together since their chart topping 1988 duet “It’s Such A Small World,” which was also Crowell’s first #1 hit.  Rolling Stone Country premiered the video for “It Ain’t Over Yet,” which also features legendary harmonica player Mickey Raphael, today and can be seen HERE.  They state, “The evocative lyrics call to mind the two-tone, punked-out cover image from Cash’s 1985 LP Rhythm and Romance, which preceded Crowell’s mainstream country breakthrough of five consecutive Number One hits from 1988’s Diamonds & Dirt and the subsequent collapse of the couple’s marriage.” Close Ties will be available on compact disc, LP, and is now available for digital pre-order HERE.

Close Ties both demonstrates Crowell’s strengths as a songwriter and illustrates how he has learned to balance personal recollection, literary sophistication, and his profound musical reach.  It’s at once his most intimate record and his most accessible, the product of years of understanding the ways songs can enter - and be entered by - life.  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 the alternative country scene of the early seventies that included Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and more.  But it 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, Steve Earle 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 involves the careful handling of memory.  “A few years ago I made a record called The Houston Kid that triggered Chinaberry Sidewalks (Crowell’s 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, recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association, and the author of his autobiography, the stunning Chinaberry Sidewalks.

The Americana Music Association and the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles have also announced An Evening With Rodney Crowell on Monday, January 23rd.  The conversation and performance will kickoff the 2017 Americana Series at the Museum’s 200-seat Clive Davis Theater and will be moderated by Scott Goldman, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares.   Rodney Crowell has also announced tour dates in advance and in support of Close Ties, kicking off February 14th in New Braunfels, TX (Please see dates below with more to be announced).

Rodney Crowell 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 (More Dates To Be Announced):
February 14 – New Braunfels, TX @ Brauntex Theater 
February 15 – Tomball, TX @ Main Street Crossing 
February 16 – Tomball, TX @ Main Street Crossing 

February 19-26 – The Cayamo Cruise
March 14 – Aspen, CO @ Wheeler Opera House

March 15 – Ft. Collins, CO @ The Armory
March 16 –  Boulder, CO @ eTown 
March 23 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads
March 24 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
March 25 – Chicago, IL @ City Winery
March 30 – New York, NY @ City Winery
March 31 – Sellersville, PA @ Sellersville Theater
April 1 – Washington, DC @ The Hamilton

April 7 – Austin, TX @ Paramount Theater (*Darrell K. Royal Homecoming Show) 
May 7 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Lobero Theater
May 9 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour 
May 10 – Berkeley, CA @ Freight & Salvage
May 13 – Olympia, WA @ Capitol Theater

September 16 – Bristol, TN @ Bristol Rhythm & Roots Festival