Album Review: Rodney Crowell - Tarpaper Sky

Album Review: Rodney Crowell - Tarpaper Sky

Rodney Crowell
Tarpaper Sky
(New West)

★★★★★ (Out of 5)

RODNEY Crowell’s latest recording, celebrating 40 years making music, began back in 2010 when he got the notion to gather the band together that had played on his 1988 Diamonds and Dirt album, for some new recordings.

The title, Tarpaper Sky, alludes to the rickety house with the bad roof where he spent much of his Houston childhood. However, other projects got in the way and it was a while before they regrouped to pull it all together.

The intervening time however produced two albums – the second one being Old Yellow Moon with lifelong friend Emmylou Harris, which led to a triumphant tour and a 2014 Grammy Award and was named 2013 Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association.

Born in Texas, Rodney Crowell moved to Nashville in 1972 and went on to become a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting from the Americana Music Association.

How many songwriters would love to say their songs have been recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, Waylon Jennings, George Strait and Tim McGraw, among others?

Tarpaper Sky has that lovely live feel that you can only get with a bunch of great musicians sitting around together in a studio rejoicing in making music together.

A real Americana roots album covering love songs to ballads and rock and roll rhythm.  It’s hard to pick favourite tracks but the opening Long Journey Home followed by Fever on the Bayou stand out but then Frankie Please really rocks it up before sliding into the gentle God, I’m Missing You and you realise that they all stand out for different reasons.

All in all, Tarpaper Sky is a cracking album from a cracking songwriter who incidentally co-produced Kieran Goss’s 2005 album, Blue Sky Sunrise.