Thursday, December 10, 2009
Rodney Crowell - Earthbound
Rodney Crowell (born August 7, 1950) is a Grammy Award-winning musician, known primarily for his work as a singer and songwriter in country music.
He is considered to be part of both the alternative country and the mainstream country music camps. He is a contemporary of Steve Earle and, like Earle, was also influenced by the songwriting greats Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Crowell played guitar and sang for three years in Emmylou Harris' "Hot Band".
Crowell was born August 7, 1950 in Houston, Texas to James Walter Crowell and Addie Cauzette Willoughby. He had come from a musical family, with one grandfather being a church choir leader and the other a bluegrass banjo player. His grandmother played guitar and his father sang semi-professionally at bars and Honky tonks. At age 11, he starting playing drums in his father's band. In his teen years, he played in various garage rock bands in Houston performing hits of the day mixed with a few country numbers.
After producing Rosanne Cash's highly successful Rhythm & Romance, Crowell signed to Columbia Records in 1986. His first album for that label Street Language was co-produced with Booker T. Jones and featured a blend of Soul and country music. The album, however, failed to produce any chart activity.
Although best known as a songwriter and alternative country artist, Crowell enjoyed mainstream popularity during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His critically acclaimed album, 1988's Diamonds & Dirt, produced five consecutive No. 1 hits during a 17-month span in 1988 and 1989: "It's Such a Small World" (a duet with Cash), "I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried," "She's Crazy for Leaving," "After All This Time" and "Above and Beyond" (a cover of Buck Owens' 1962 hit). His follow-up album, 1989's Keys to the Highway, produced two top 5 hits in 1990, which were "Many a Long and Lonesome Highway" and "If Looks Could Kill."
As Crowell's popularity in hit-radio country music faded, he continued his prolific songwriting. After 1992's Life Is Messy, he left Columbia Records and signed to MCA Records where he released two more albums.