Life Is Messy

Life Is Messy

by Rodney Crowell
     
 

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Rodney Crowell wrote several songs about life's difficult passages that were taken to the top of the charts by other artists, e.g. Bob Seger's "Shame on the Moon," Crystal Gayle's "Until I Gain Control Again," the Dirt Band's "Long Hard Road." In 1992, soon after the end of his…  See more details below

Overview

Rodney Crowell wrote several songs about life's difficult passages that were taken to the top of the charts by other artists, e.g. Bob Seger's "Shame on the Moon," Crystal Gayle's "Until I Gain Control Again," the Dirt Band's "Long Hard Road." In 1992, soon after the end of his marriage to fellow singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash, Crowell explored the subject with a set of deeply felt breakup tunes that range from the defiant survivor's tale "Lovin' All Night" to the resigned "Not for Me to Judge." There's a bittersweet meditation on the complexities of love's end on "What Kind of Love," with lyrics that Crowell and Will Jennings wrote to a melody by the late Roy Orbison. This reissue restores a moving collection of songs to availability, once again showcasing Crowell's versatility and strength as a writer and performer. Liner notes on these Lucky Dog Pick of the Litter packages are sparse, so listen for the contributions of a couple of unbilled guests -- Linda Ronstadt and Steve Winwood.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
After the commercial falloff of Keys to the Highway, Rodney Crowell took two and a half years crafting his seventh album, Life Is Messy, in the interim going through a divorce from his wife, Rosanne Cash. The most notable characteristic of Life Is Messy was that it marked a complete return to his original style. With nary a steel guitar or fiddle to be heard, and featuring top pop session musicians as well as a slew of pop guest stars (Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, Steve Winwood, etc.), Life Is Messy wasn't really a country record at all. A couple of songs had a country-rock, honky tonk feel, but the dominant musical style was a pastiche of late-'50s/early-'60s pop. The title song was a somewhat abstract meditation on romantic discord and career disappointment that was followed by the equally despairing "I Hardly Know How to Be Myself," which actually had been co-written with Cash. These songs sounded so pained and deeply felt that some of the more uptempo songs came off as trivial, even if they made for a change of pace. But other songs came up to their standard without being quite so low in mood. "Alone But Not Alone" found the singer beginning to find his way, and "It's Not for Me to Judge" revealed the noncommittal feelings one can have when emotional certainties are uprooted. Taken together, the songs on Life Is Messy made for a fascinating portrait of an artist at a personal and professional crossroad -- but it didn't have much to do with commercial country music circa 1992, which is what it was primarily marketed as. After a few months, Columbia Records pulled the plug on promotion and parted ways with Crowell, who moved on to MCA Records.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/19/2000
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646149027
catalogNumber:
61490

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rodney Crowell   Primary Artist,Guitar,Percussion
Jim Lauderdale   Vocals
Marc Cohn   Vocal Harmony
Shawn Colvin   Background Vocals
Don Henley   Vocal Harmony
Albert Lee   Vocals
Linda Ronstadt   Vocal Harmony
Steve Winwood   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Lari White   Background Vocals
Alex Acuña   Percussion
Eddie Bayers   Percussion,Drums
Barry Beckett   Organ,Electric Piano
Larry Byrom   Vocals
Vinnie Colaiuta   Percussion
Mickey Curry   Drums
Vicki Hampton   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Jim Horn   Saxophone
Booker T. Jones   Organ
Larry Klein   Bass,Guitar,Keyboards
John Leventhal   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Jonell Mosser   Background Vocals
Jeff Porcaro   Drums
Sam Phillips   Vocals
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Reginal Sales   Drums
Vince Santoro   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Steuart Smith   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Jeffrey "C.J." Vanston   Keyboards
Larry White   Background Vocals
Larrie Londin   Percussion,Drums
Leland Sklar   Bass

Technical Credits

Rodney Crowell   Producer
Bobby Colomby   Producer
Larry Klein   Producer
John Leventhal   Producer
Roger Nichols   Engineer
C.J. Vancston   Producer
Jeffrey "C.J." Vanston   Producer

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