Rodney Crowell and Mary Karr
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012
KinSongs by Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell (Vanguard)
It seems unlikely that Mary Karr, author of mega-successful book The Liars' Club, and Rodney Crowell, renowned songwriter from Texas, would put out an album together. Then Crowell name-checked Karr in "Earthbound" from 2003's Fate's Right Hand and they met soon thereafter, united by similar, alcohol-affected upbringings in southeast Texas. Kin describes how they feel about one another and their many guests. Rosanne Cash (who's really kin), Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Vince Gill, and more add vocals, while Joe Henry produces and everyone revels in their Texas roots with a pure old-fashioned country that's lyrically sophisticated. Jones warbling "If the Law Don't Want You" and Crowell/Kristofferson duet "My Father's Advice" highlight an effort that's surprisingly cogent.