Friday saw the release of the tenth studio album by Charley Crockett, Music City USA, available now across streaming platforms. Though the album’s name is the official nickname for Nashville, TN, the burgeoning singer-songwriter gives Music City USA a forwarding address down south to Texas.
From the opening shot of the lead single “I Need Your Love“, Crockett immediately showed a musical evolution with the addition of a horn section. Upon the single’s release, Crockett defined himself as “Gulf & Western”, categorizing himself as a songsmith of southeast Texas and Louisiana. “I Need Your Love” served its purpose in earmarking for many the first page in the latest musical chapter for the 37-year-old troubadour.
Don’t get confused, Crockett’s trademark honky-tonk-country stylings still pervade Music City USA, as listeners are reassured by the familiar waltz of “The World Just Broke My Heart”. Crockett knows something about heartbreak, as the musician underwent open-heart surgery in 2019 to address his bicuspid aortic valve stenosis, a disease where “instead of having three aortic flaps that allow the blood to flow, two are fused together,” per heart.org.
Crockett’s doctors told him he was a year away from total heart failure, giving the musician who spent his 20s living in parks, riding in railcars, and playing for change on the streets a new perspective that has seeped into his music. Crockett doesn’t know how much time he has left, so he’s not going to waste his and he’s not going to waste ours.
Along with the new album, Crockett shared a making-of documentary, The Road To Music City USA, as well as a music video for the title track. In the 45-minute behind-the-scenes short film, viewers peel back the curtain that shrouds the itinerant musician as he stops for a moment to catch his breath. However, those looking for some “other side” of Crockett will be disappointed—or perhaps delighted—to discover that he’s exactly the same person offstage as he is on and in his records.
“That’s the life that I’m relating to be, and I don’t set out to necessarily write that stuff specifically, it’s just what pours out,” Crockett says in the film’s opening. “And when I cobble it together and look back on it in reflection, it just looks like the path that I walk now. And maybe mine is unusual for today, I’d say it’s highly unusual to the point where people think it’s made up, you know? The truth is, I’ve toned it down.”
Stream Music City USA, the new album from Charley Crockett, below and watch the making-of documentary as well as the new music video for the title track. Crockett is set to appear on the October 30th episode of Austin City Limits on PBS.
Charley Crockett – Music City USA
Charley Crockett — The Road To Music City USA (Documentary)
[Video: Charley Crockett]
Charley Crockett – “Music City USA” (Official Video)
[Video: Charley Crockett]