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  • Rodney Crowell - Sportsmens Tavern May 12, 2014

    Mag 13 2014, 17:08

    "Tarpaper Sky" is the new album that Rodney is promoting on this tour. From the first notes of "The Long Journey Home", I felt that I was listening to another Crowell Classic. I certainly mean no disrespect to his recent album of duets with the sublime Emmylou Harris and other members of The Hot Band on "Old Yellow Moon" or his duets album, "Kin" featuring songs written in collaboration with Mary Karr and boasting a who's who of current top female vocalists, but this is vintage Crowell. He has always been able to distill raw emotions or complex life situations into concise, shimmering images. "God I'm Missing You", "I Wouldn't Be Me Without You" are both on a par with his finest ballads like "Ashes By Now" or "When The Blue Hour Comes". "Frankie Please" displays Crowell the rocker in the vein "Old Pipeliner" or "Sex and Gasoline". Crowell's supple voice has not lost any of it's magic. Steuart's guitar accented each song and the tasty solos were a definitive statement of his considerable talent. Sweet and melodic when necessary, muscular where demanded. A solid and subtle rhythm section kept things moving along throughout.
    Since Rodney has written so many songs that are included in the sound track of my life, it would have been impossible to touch them all even in a set twice as long. Songs from his extensive catalog were met with rousing enthusiasm from the crowd included "Sex And Gasoline" "Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight", "Jewel of the South" and "Until I Gain Control Again" . The set closed with an audience assisted "Pancho and Lefty" - a tribute to Townes Van Zandt.
    A consummate performer, Rodney was in perfect control at all times. He moved seamlessly from song to song interspersing the right amount of banter to make the whole experience one of intimacy. The entire band was accessible and gracious after the performance. I thought that I had missed talking to Rodney, but I encountered him on my way out of Sportsmens. Even with a long drive ahead of him, he took a few minutes to chat with me. We spoke easily of music and life like old friends. I was floored when he asked me my name just before he got into his car. A truly rare person.
    Finally, a big thank you to Dwane and his family. Thirty years of hard work and a vision that would not be denied have transformed Sportsmens into the best venue to see live music anywhere around.