Wednesday, May 27, 2020
– Charley Crockett today announced his next studio album, "Welcome To Hard Times," will be released July 31 on Thirty Tigers.
Produced by Mark Neill, with songwriting contributions from Pat McLaughlin and Dan Auerbach, "Welcome To Hard Times'" is a genre bending mix of classic country, psychedelic spaghetti western and rhythm and blues.
"This record is for the folks who feel like everything's fixed," Crockett said. "If you think you're playing a rigged game, you're right. If it seems like all the cards are marked in advance, they are. But you still gotta roll the dice, even when you know they're loaded. "
Crockett released the album title track and its accompanying video (co-directed by Crockett and Bobby Cochran,) was today with American Songwriter Magazine. Shot on location in the Sierra Nevadas, it will feature as part of a series of videos Crockett is shooting and directing over the next month, where he will play the same character walking alone through isolated landscapes in the American wilderness.
Discussing the video concept, Crockett stated, "Whether it's out of admiration or fear, the whole world contemplates what the west means. When folks ask me what I'm really after, I guess that's it. Just to drift through it all my days. I'm making films that visually represent this land just as my music describes it in sound."
The record was influenced by Crockett'shealth. In early January 2019, while at a routine doctor's checkup. Crockett was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital heart condition, as well as aortic valve disease, and he had to immediately undergo life saving heart surgery. Crockett believes that this experience inspired him to make the record that he truly wanted.
Crockett said, "I look at that scar, and all I can think about is the limited amount of time I've got left. I wanted to make an album that would try to reclaim the conversation about country music." Crockett said. "My entering country music has been controversial to say the least but I believe country fans have more eclectic tastes than they are given credit for. My country music is inspired by what I played in the subway car so I could eat, in the French Quarter in ragtag bands. I sat in pastures on farms across this country putting it all together into my own sound. I don't like labels, but if that ain't country I don't know what is."
Crockett grew up in poverty and spent time living homeless and busking making his way from New Orleans to the subway platforms of New York City. Crockett also lost his sister to addiction, and he is a twice-convicted felon. "I've gotten more than my fair share of raw deals in my thirty six years. But I don't let hard luck own me." Crockett stated, adding, "I've been fortunate enough to see things that a person from my background is never meant to see, and that's worth something. It turns out that a wandering boy can learn a whole lot out there getting in trouble. Especially if he learns from his mistakes. I wouldn't take anything back that's happened to me. I'm not the best and I damn sure ain't the first. But I'm different, and in music, that's everything."
Crockett has released six albums since 2015. His most recent was "Field Recordings, Vol. 1," which came out April 1. The digital release offers 30 lo-fi recordings of unreleased originals and deep-cut covers, recorded over the past year at the farm of a compatriot in Northern California's Mendocino County.
The disc was recorded in Valdosta, Ga. at Neil's studio. "It was a pleasure to have been involved in what I believe to be the best gulf and western country record ever made," Neil said.
The album was recorded with a studio band consisting of Kullen Fox, Colin Colby, Alexis Sanchez, Mario Valdez, Nathan Fleming, Billy Horton and Mackenzie Rosser.
The track list is:
1. Welcome To Hard Times
2. Run Horse Run
3. Don't Cry
4. Tennessee Special
5. Fool Somebody Else
6. Lily My Dear
7. Wreck Me
8. Heads You Win
9. Rainin' In My Heart
10. Paint It Blue
11. Black Jack County Crain
12. The Man That Time Forgot
13. The Poplar Tree