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Rodney Crowell

Tarpaper Sky (New West)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 14, 2014

SXSW 2014 Records

Rodney Crowell

Tarpaper Sky (New West)

Sidetracked by two exceptional collaborations, 2012's Mary Karr co-write Kin and last year's Emmylou Harris duet Old Yellow Moon, Rodney Crowell again reunites with the band that helped him realize his first breakout via 1988's Diamonds & Dirt. Tarpaper Sky proves that the Houston Kid in his 60s remains as vital as ever, balancing ballads and bar room stomps, both cut with his characteristic sense of autobiographical detail and precarious mortality. Opening on the anthemic "The Long Journey Home," the LP segues effortlessly into joyous "Fever on the Bayou" and raucous "Frankie Please." The sparse "God I'm Missing You" jars in its intimacy, while "Grandma Loved That Old Man" and bluesy "Jesus Talk to Mama" look both back and beyond. The aphorism-laced "The Flyboy & the Kid" rolls in ode to mentor Guy Clark, and closer "Oh What a Beautiful World" encompasses the vision of a poet committed to life's overlooked but meaningful moments. (11pm, the Gatsby)

***.5

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