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Rodney Crowell

Sex & Gasoline (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Oct. 31, 2008

Texas Platters

Rodney Crowell

Sex & Gasoline (Yep Roc)

Often praised as the Lone Star State's Bob Dylan, Rodney Crowell's genuine and personal narratives achieve blunt impact courtesy of producer Joe Henry's live studio approach on Crowell's 14th proper release. The opening trifecta of Townes Van Zandt-channeling "Moving Work of Art," the biting title track, and searing indictment in "The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design" sets the disc's theme of unraveling female cultural constraints and represents the Houston Kid at his best. "I Want You #35" unloads bluesy moaning atop the thump of upright bass, and "I've Done Everything I Can" aches with a father's helplessness. Crowell's philosophical and social consciousness rips even the most tender songs such as "The Night's Just Right" and "Closer to Heaven," but the upbeat strut of "Funky and the Farm-Boy" and "Who Do You Trust" add levity to the album's poignancy.

***.5

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