Rodney Crowell Says ‘I Do Belong To The People Of Texas’

The Texas-born singer-songwriter found inspiration and community among Nashville’s Texas ex-pats.

By Leah ScarpelliJuly 5, 2017 1:28 pm|

Rodney Crowell was a skinny Houstonian with oversized ambitions when he pointed his car toward Nashville in the summer of 1972. Like a lot of other 20-somethings who had made the journey before him, he discovered Music City could be an intimidating place.

Luckily for Crowell, he found a community of Texas ex-pats in Nashville -– singer-songwriters like himself — Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and many others.

“It could have gone any way for me,” Crowell says about his early days in Nashville. “I had talent but I didn’t really have any real sense of work ethic or the notion that your work as an artist is a matter of committing to your craft.”

Crowell is a Grammy-winning artist with critically-acclaimed country, Americana and folk albums. Helping him navigate the journey from young, aspiring artist to successful musician were the late, great Guy Clark and his wife Susanna.

If Guy was the elder statesman at some of the Nashville songwriter gatherings, Susanna, an artist herself, was something of a muse. The Clarks would host late night guitar pulls and parties for their fellow homesick Texans. It was a bittersweet time, one that Crowell revisits on his new album “Close Ties.” In fact, one of the songs on the album “It Ain’t Over Yet,” is written as a three-way conversation among Rodney, Guy and Susanna.

Though originally from Texas, Crowell has lived much of his professional life outside his home state.

“I do belong to the people of Texas,” says Crowell. “There is a myth and a mystique about Texas songwriters. We’re the best liars in the world.”

 

Written by Taylor Jackson Buchanan.