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Crowell glad the fame is over

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 – Rodney Crowell acknowledges he had his heyday years ago with "Diamonds & Dust," but he also was satisfied that he never achieved that same level of success again.

"I did have my 15 minutes of fame as a country star," said Crowell during an interview session with Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis during the Americana Music Festival & Conference. "For me, it was one of the most miserable time of my life."

Crowell, who just released "Sex & Gasoline" (Yep Roc), said during his "Diamonds & Dust" days, he would walk in a room and people would say, "Oh, that's Rodney Crowell. I started to try to (be) that guy you were looking at."

Crowell said that if the success continued, he "was not going to be a very good artist."

"The best thing that ever happened tome is I did not have the (same) success on the next CD. (If I did), I wouldn't be the artist I am today."

After taking off five years to raise his daughters as a single parent, Crowell made "The Houston Kid" CD. "I decided to go back to work as the guy I was, and I've felt better ever since."

"I was scary to let it go," he said. "I had to fact the fact...that I wouldn't be relevant."

"It builds character," Crowell said of the struggle to reclaim his career.

When asked if he could still write a ditty, "I've lost my ditty chops," Crowell said to laughter. "About the best I could do commercially is try to capture a love song about my wife either when I'm trying to break up with her or make up with her on Valentine's Day."

"I would fall on my ass," he said of going commercial. "The few times I've tried that, I've failed miserably."

Crowell gets personal on "Sex & Gasoline" dealing with personal issues on the title track. "Someone who's very close to me is wracked by bulimia, and I don't know if she's ever going to come out of it," Crowell said of his daughter. "It scares me to death with the disease based on the culture that she came to age in."

"I bear in mind that I always come with a certain amount of audacity," Crowell said, referring to bulimia, "I take the liberty of thinking it might be entertaining. There's some audacity in even thinking that."

"I write one good song, Sex & Gasoline, and then I continue on. " The result was The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design, which Crowell proceeded to play.

When asked about ambitions in starting out, Crowell said, "As a kid? Girls. I got a whole household. To be more direct, sex. I figured out early on, I was a scrawny kid."

"Performance is a sexual act as far as I'm concerned," Crowell said. "The mystery of being on stage and the light, it's a sexual thing. I don't think it's changed much since I was 13 years old." He said seeing Mick Jagger on Ed Sullivan Show was probably the first time he saw the sexual connection with performing.

WIth The Beatles, 'it wasn't so much what they were saying. It just exploded. I had a paper route and a transistor radio. I had a transistor radio on my handle bars."

Referring to the music he heard while biking, Crowell said, "Now, there's inspiration in the air and in the water, and it sounds so good."

At 14, he listened to Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. "It was when I heard that sound of the radio, this is a paradigm, music from another planet that just got beamed down."

Crowell said it was a long time "before I could produce something that was mine."

Looking ahead, Crowell said he wants to be"part of the evolution of the musical landscape. We have to find ways to create our relevancy, to maintain our relevancy."

"There's a lot of opportunity coming up," Crowell concluded. "My challenge is to continue to believe in myself. I still don't know if I can do it again."

More news for Rodney Crowell

CD reviews for Rodney Crowell

Texas CD review - Texas
Rodney Crowell is a rare breed of a country songwriter. Yes, he knows how to write traditional country songs; it's just he's also a deep thinker, which requires extra effort on the part of the listener to appreciate them fully. "Texas" is just as varied as his everything-is-bigger home state. It's also a star-studded affair, which even includes none other than Ringo Starr. "Brown & Root, Brown & Root" includes an historical introduction from Crowell's duet »»»
Christmas Everywhere CD review - Christmas Everywhere
Rodney Crowell's "Christmas Everywhere" is a (mostly) melancholy collection of songs, with Christmas time as its setting. It's a strong set of carefully worded tunes, set to widely varying musical backings. All 12 tracks are originals, so if you're seeking out 'Rodney Crowell performs holiday favorites,' this is certainly not for you. However, if you're a little tired of all the trappings associated with the winter season, you'll find an empathetic soul in Crowell. »»»
Close Ties CD review - Close Ties
One song on Rodney Crowell's "Close Ties" album is called "I Don't Care Anymore." It's a song when a person comes to term with aging, where what others think of you simply doesn't really matter much in the grand scheme of things. However, if Crowell truly didn't care about others' opinions, he wouldn't have created such a fine album. He cared enough to give us the very best, to borrow an advertising slogan, and we should especially thankful »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Rising Appalachia buck the mainsteam, and that's fine with them – Rising Appalachia would not be accused of being in the musical mainstream. Not too many bands who combine folk and Appalachian sounds with new world music could possibly be. And that suits the sister-led duo of Chloe Smith and Leah Song just fine. In fact, at one point, Chloe made it clear she did not embrace radio play as a sign of success... »»»
Concert Review: Bingham plays with something to prove – Ryan Bingham mainly focused on songs from his sixth album "American Love Song," for this lively show. Backed by a supportive band that also included two female backup singers and a fiddler, Bingham's eclectic setlist touched upon country, singer/songwriter folk, rock and blues. Bingham reached for lively country sounds early on, with... »»»
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