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Thursday, 05 June 2014 12:00

Rodney Crowell 6/5/14 + Video

Rodney Crowell at KDHX Rodney Crowell at KDHX Valerie Tichacek
Written by Glen Herbert
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  • Date Recorded: June 5, 2014
  • Artist / Band: Rodney Crowell
  • Hosting Show: The Back Country
  • Sound: Jon Valley
  • Video: Valerie Tichacek

It's easy to forget that there are lots of ways to be involved in the music industry. Rodney Crowell, though not a household name, is a giant of his craft, and getting your mind around the length and breadth of his career can be daunting.

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Crowell started his career as a songwriter working out of Nashville, and to some extent that's the aspect of his work for which he is best known. His songs have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Crystal Gayle, Bob Seeger, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Johnny Cash; more recently he's penned hits for Keith Urban, Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womak and many others.

As a member of the Nashville culture, he also became part of a group of people that really defined and guided the work being done there, a group that famously included Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. He also performed with the A-list, adding guitar and vocals to Emmylou Harris' legendary Hot Band. In time, Crowell recorded his own songs too, and his "Diamonds and Dust" put him in the spotlight as a true star in 1988, as five of the songs on that album went to #1 on the country charts.

Crowell is highly regarded, especially within the music industry, and he's got all the awards to prove it, but his current, stripped down, acoustic mode suits his talents and his approach better than any other in his long career. The songs in this Live at KDHX performance are Crowell at his best, as the production is spare and sympathetic to a man who has something to say. His guitar work perfectly supports the lyric, as on "Missing You," which presents as a master class in performance: authoritative, confident and remarkably skilled. He has a large number of tools, and he knows exactly how to employ them in the service of a song. A great deal can be learned from Crowell, and certainly in all the decades of his career, a lot of people have done just that.

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