Keys to the Highway

Keys to the Highway

by Rodney Crowell
     
 

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Rodney Crowell's 1989 follow-up to the previous year's celebrated DIAMONDS & DIRT is not the latter's post-to-post tour de force, but is an important extension of the themes Crowell had been exploring in depth since 1986's STREET LANGUAGE. Shaped by the death of his father and the self-examination that followed, Crowell displays a new toughness as he owns up to past… See more details below

Overview

Rodney Crowell's 1989 follow-up to the previous year's celebrated DIAMONDS & DIRT is not the latter's post-to-post tour de force, but is an important extension of the themes Crowell had been exploring in depth since 1986's STREET LANGUAGE. Shaped by the death of his father and the self-examination that followed, Crowell displays a new toughness as he owns up to past failures and tries to redefine important relationships in moving treatises such as "The Faith Is Mine" and "Soul Searchin'." "Now That We're Alone," "Tell Me The Truth," and the startling "I Guess We've Been Together for Too Long" are painful in their forthrightness, but also beautiful and moving in their portraits of a man seeking truth in return for truth, no more, no less. KEYS TO THE HIGHWAY is as much a literary event as a musical one, and thus less accessible than its brilliant predecessor. Its rewards, then, are hard-won, but richer for the effort required to savor them fully.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kerry Dexter
After making his commercial breakthrough as a performer with 1988's Diamonds and Dirt, Crowell, already a veteran songwriter, producer, musician and recording artist, followed up that album's success with Keys to the Highway. While the album does show evidence of being rushed to take advantage of Crowell's newfound popularity, it does feature several standout tunes. "My Past Is Present" reflects on the persistence of a long-gone love affair, while "If Looks Could Kill" is an edgy, dryly humorous meditation on the same subject. The title track evokes the wide spaces of western highways and the neon-lit bars that offer a temporary refuge from the road.
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The success of Rodney Crowell's Diamonds & Dirt was a surprise, if only because Crowell had been making records for ten years with only modest sales. It was more country-oriented and less challenging than his previous recordings, but the album threw off a record-setting five number one country hits while remaining in the charts more than two years. Keys to the Highway, therefore, should have consolidated Crowell's status as a major country star; instead, it was a commercial disappointment from which he did not recover. Though Crowell had bowed to a traditional approach somewhat on Diamonds & Dirt, he remained essentially a stylist as interested in folk, rock, and R&B as he was in country. At the same time, emboldened by his success, Crowell apparently wanted to try to recover some of his critical standing, and he also seems to have been influenced by the death of his father to be true to himself. Momentum pushed the leadoff single, the slow, thoughtful folk-rock ballad "Many a Long and Lonesome Highway," into the country Top Five, but it was not what fans of Diamonds & Dirt were expecting, and despite the neo-Nashville sound of second single "If Looks Could Kill," which reached the country Top Ten, Keys to the Highway failed to make the country Top Ten or go gold. It's a much better album than that history suggests, however, carefully balanced between exercises in early rock & roll and rockabilly, country-soul, mainstream '60s-style rock, and even dyed-in-the-wool country. Keys to the Highway didn't have the songwriting depth of Crowell's early albums, but it was more substantial and more varied than Diamonds & Dirt, and if handled well, it might have been even more successful. Instead, it remains an album yet to be really discovered.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/26/2008
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886971866223
catalogNumber:
718662

Tracks

  1. My Past Is Present  - Rodney Crowell
  2. If Looks Could Kill  - Rodney Crowell
  3. Soul Searchin'  - Rodney Crowell
  4. Many a Long and Lonesome Highway  - Rodney Crowell
  5. We Gotta Go on Meeting Like This  - Rodney Crowell
  6. The Faith Is Mine  - Rodney Crowell
  7. Tell Me the Truth  - Rodney Crowell
  8. Don't Let Your Feet Slow You Down  - Rodney Crowell
  9. Now That's We're Alone  - Rodney Crowell
  10. Things I Wish I'd Said  - Rodney Crowell
  11. I Guess We've Been Together for Too Long  - Rodney Crowell
  12. You Been on My Mind  - Rodney Crowell

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rodney Crowell   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar
Rosanne Cash   Vocals
Ashley Cleveland   Vocals
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Barry Beckett   Organ,Piano
Donivan Cowart   Overdubs
Glen D. Hardin   Conductor
Hank DeVito   Acoustic Guitar,Steel Guitar
Paul Franklin   Steel Guitar
Vince Gill   Vocals
Mark O'Connor   Fiddle,Mandolin
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Vince Santoro   Drums
Steuart Smith   Acoustic Guitar
Harry Stinson   Vocals
Jim Hanson   Bass,Vocals

Technical Credits

Rodney Crowell   Arranger,Producer
Tony Brown   Producer
Donivan Cowart   Engineer
Glen D. Hardin   Arranger,Orchestral Arrangements
Randy Kling   Mastering
Steve Marcantonio   Engineer
Glenn Meadows   Mastering
Steuart Smith   Arranger
Bill Johnson   Art Direction
Randee St. Nicholas   Cover Photo

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