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Sex & Gasoline

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Sex and Gasoline is Rodney Crowell's first record in three years, where he goes further inside but pulls out accessible and jagged observations on the conflicting poles in what it means to be a conscious human being who struggles with unconscious urges. In these songs he also investigates what it means to be a man who tries -- and fails a lot -- to empathize with and respect women in a culture that, whether it admits it or not, hates them. Produced by Joe Henry and performed by his own nearly ubiquitous sound-painting crew of drummer Jay Belleros, bassist David Pilch, keyboardist Patrick Warren, pedal steel, mandolin, and dobro master Greg Leisz, and guitar boss Doyle ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Sex and Gasoline is Rodney Crowell's first record in three years, where he goes further inside but pulls out accessible and jagged observations on the conflicting poles in what it means to be a conscious human being who struggles with unconscious urges. In these songs he also investigates what it means to be a man who tries -- and fails a lot -- to empathize with and respect women in a culture that, whether it admits it or not, hates them. Produced by Joe Henry and performed by his own nearly ubiquitous sound-painting crew of drummer Jay Belleros, bassist David Pilch, keyboardist Patrick Warren, pedal steel, mandolin, and dobro master Greg Leisz, and guitar boss Doyle Bramhall III, this is Crowell at his most direct and dense: he channels many other songwriters, but as always he remains completely his own man. The title track opens the set with a mutant acoustic blues; it works with a culture-jamming sense of poetry, with images as angry as Steve Earle's (without the autodidacticism) yet as dense and raggedly elegant as Bob Dylan's. Henry's killer band adorns Crowell's blur of images with a strident yet warm piano, a mandolin, strummed layers of acoustic guitar, and a throbbing upright bassline walking the snare toward his indictment of how we view women, what we expect of them, and an exhortation to admit it. This is underscored on the ballad "Moving Work of Art," where Crowell implicates himself as one who objectifies women despite his intentions -- that he can use the language employed here points to his guilt. He tells a story, but uses the most poignant images to offer its truth -- he doesn't expect you to take his word for it (even when he flips the coin and shines a light on those who understand this objectification but seek it for personal gain). The fat, warm bassline, fingerpicked guitars, and pedal steel offer an instrumental mix that invokes reverie, a look through the mirrored glass darkly. Rounding out this amazing consecutive trio is "The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design." Pulsing with fingerpicked steel, shuffling chunky acoustics, soft toms, and a blanketed bass drum, we get this: "If I could have just one wish/Maybe for an hour/I'd want to be a woman/And feel that phantom power/Maybe I'd want to stick around for awhile/Until my heart got broke/Maybe then I could find out if I'm a half decent man/Or if I'm just a joke..." There are less topical offerings here as well, the duet with Henry on the stunning "I've Done Everything I Can," populated by two protagonists on complementary sides of a conversation on regret, grief, and the difficulty in starting over after surrendering to loss. Henry's delivery is philosophical and empathic; Crowell's is bewildered and broken, but resilient. Conversely, "Funky and the Farm Boy," is a swaggering, strutting, good-time blues groove about sexual obsession, and the band gets to cut loose a bit, thanks to Bramhall's guitars and backing vocalists Nikki Harris and Sister Jean McLain. Clocking in at just under 50 minutes, Sex and Gasoline is the record Crowell's been striving for since Houston Kid in 2001. The wisdom, humor, and literate, biting world view, is all balanced with the wisdom of tenderness, and a poetic sense of the heart's own aspirations and disappointments. With Sex and Gasoline Crowell makes emotions almost visible -- how many songwriters can achieve that?
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/2/2008
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • UPC: 634457218727
  • Catalog Number: 2187
  • Sales rank: 90,576

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rodney Crowell Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Musician
Joe Henry Vocals
Phil Everly Vocals
Sally Dworsky Vocals
Niki Haris Background Vocals
Greg Leisz Acoustic Guitar, Dobro, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Mandocello, Lap Steel Guitar, Musician
Jean McClain Background Vocals
David Piltch Electric Bass, Upright Bass, Musician
Patrick Warren Piano, chamberlain, Pump Organ, Musician
Jay Bellerose Percussion, Drums, Musician
Doyle Bramhall II Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Musician
Sister Jean McClain Background Vocals
Doyle Brahall III Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Technical Credits
Rodney Crowell Composer
Joe Henry Producer
Gavin Lurssen Mastering
Ryan Freeland Engineer
Steve Marc Antonio Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Crowell: Stronger than ever!

    Rodney Crowell is one of the most literate songwriters on the scene today. As quick with his wit as he is searing with his commentary of this twenty-first century world. This latest effort finds Crowell continuing to travel down the Americana path that he has been following for his previous three records (2001&#8217 s The Houston Kid 2003&#8217 s Fate&#8217 s Right Hand and 2005&#8217 s The Outsider) &#8211 all with great critical success. Sex &amp Gasoline focuses the writer&#8217 s eye on women and how they subsist and survive in our current culture. The title track is a scathing critique on a society that celebrates the superficial beauty of a woman rather than take time to look at what&#8217 s inside that person. &#8220 The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design,&#8221 and &#8220 Truth Decay&#8221 continue his exploration into ideas that are sometimes falsely presented as &#8216 facts.&#8217 That&#8217 s not to say that the entire CD is rife with dissent. On the contrary, one of Crowell&#8217 s greatest gifts is his ability to balance his message with sweet, unassuming songs (&#8220 Moving Work of Art,&#8221 &#8220 Closer to Heaven&#8221 ) that allows his listeners to catch their breath and look for the positives in any given situation. Sex &amp Gasoline was produced by the legendary Joe Henry and contains what Crowell says are, &quot some of the best performances I`ve given to date.&quot For the new material Crowell and Henry brought in some of music`s most skilled sidemen including Doyle Bramhall III (acoustic and electric guitar), Greg Leisz (acoustic and electric guitar, pedal and lap steel, mandolin, mandocello and dobro), Patrick Warren (piano, pump organ and Chamberlin), David Piltch (upright and electric bass) and Jay Bellerose (drums and percussion). Sex &amp Gasoline is a brutally honest, thought-provoking, uncompromising look at some of the themes that fuel our lives today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This mean old world runs on sex and gasoline...

    Why not to talk about that? We all need gasoline, We all need sex. But, for some reason, a few, just a few, We know where to fill in the tank, and with who to have sex. This is a very evocative piece of Crowell's affectional, racional, 'where to go, with the Soul's tank full of desire'. A Must Have.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I used to think Crowell was a great song writer

    I usually do not listen to CD's like this, but The Houston Kid was a great album. This one is mailed in; the lyrics are child-like and songs are awful

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews