t's tempting to suss out young traditional country singers whenever they come along these days. Are these merely performance artists, playing the role of country singers, or are they sincere lovers of the genre? Charley Crockett certainly suggested authenticity with his recorded output, and then confirmed his 'real deal' status in concert. The lanky performer gave his audience a healthy portion of fine country music during his midweek downtown show.
The Regent is the last remaining historic (former) movie theater on downtown Los Angeles' Main street. Built in 1914, and used as an adult theater for a spell, this intimate venue was packed on a Wednesday night with plenty of young cowboys and cowgirls. (Well, at least they all dressed the part).
Crockett, who played acoustic guitar, was also accompanied by Nathan Fleming on steel guitar and opened with the galloping "Run Horse Run," which found the performer stomping his foot for added percussion. He shined vocally on new old timey songs, like "Lies and Regret." He introduced "Welcome To Hard Times" by dedicating the song to everyone in the audience, as we've all experienced collective hard times with the covid pandemic.
Although Crockett admitted to being born in the '80s and having to listen to '90s music, he learned to play music by performing Bob Dylan songs on Dallas streets. He's also done a lot of manual labor in his life. Therefore, he's lived the rural lifestyle, which makes his songs all the more believable. He didn't have to tell us he's no poser. He more than proved it with his songs.
Opener Joshua Ray Walker was a special treat. He preceded Crockett by performing while sitting on a chair and accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar. He writes smart songs, like "Cowboy," which he'd pitched to Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, before putting it on his recent "See You Next Time" album. He also proved himself to be a wickedly speedy guitarist while covering Townes Van Zandt's "White Freight Liner Blues." Walker sometimes vocalized with a slight yodel in his voice, which made his singing all the more appealing. If he's opening for Crockett in your town, do not miss him.
Charley Crockett was probably being sarcastic when he sang about how "they've got a lot to say in Music City USA," because he (along with Joshua Ray Walker) exemplified how Nashville gloss ain't the only game in town. There was sure lots of raw country goodness tonight.