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Tarpaper Sky

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Rodney Crowell's last two offerings have been collaborative albums. First was 2011's Kin, an uneven collection written and recorded with novelist Mary Karr; 2013's Old Yellow Moon marked his reunion with Emmylou Harris. It was a decent record, but steeped in nostalgia rather than fresh energy. Tarpaper Sky is a no-nonsense collection of Crowell songs unrestricted by concept, played by the core band from 1988's Diamonds & Dirt--guitarist Steuart Smith, drummer Eddie Bayers and bassist Michael Rhodes--as well friends. Justin Neibank helmed and mixed these sessions; he gets the essence of Crowell's sound perfectly. The standouts tend to be the mid-to uptempo numbers. The ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Rodney Crowell's last two offerings have been collaborative albums. First was 2011's Kin, an uneven collection written and recorded with novelist Mary Karr; 2013's Old Yellow Moon marked his reunion with Emmylou Harris. It was a decent record, but steeped in nostalgia rather than fresh energy. Tarpaper Sky is a no-nonsense collection of Crowell songs unrestricted by concept, played by the core band from 1988's Diamonds & Dirt--guitarist Steuart Smith, drummer Eddie Bayers and bassist Michael Rhodes--as well friends. Justin Neibank helmed and mixed these sessions; he gets the essence of Crowell's sound perfectly. The standouts tend to be the mid-to uptempo numbers. The opener "The Long Journey Home" references in feel and architecture -- if not anthemic force -- Bruce Springsteen's "No Surrender," but it's more empathic and tender than dramatic. "Fever on the Bayou," co-written with Will Jennings, tosses just a touch of Louisiana into Crowell's Texas-cum-Nashville gumbo. "Frankie Please" is raucous modern rockabilly with killer guitar from Smith. It draws from the same untamed root sources that Bob Dylan's "Thunder on the Mountain" does. The rough and tumble honky tonk blues of "Somebody's Shadow," co-written with Quinten Collier, has an uncharacteristic tenor saxophone in its barroom swagger, and it works. "Jesus Talk to Mama" is swinging country rockabilly with Smith's licks adding to its strut and a gospel backing vocal courtesy of Vicki Hampton. "The Flyboy & The Kid" is classic Texas Americana (and dedicated to mentor Guy Clark). The simple melody adorned with accordion, mandolin, Jerry Douglas' dobro, and Bayers' popping snare, underscores an inspired vocal delivering exceptionally poetic lyrics. Among the slower tunes, "Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love," a duet with Shannon McNally reveals that life's twilight may be visible on the horizon, but the present moment is meant to be fully embraced. Likewise, the country waltz "I Wouldn't Be Me Without You" is one of Crowell's finest love songs in years. Themes of of memory and gratitude wind their way through some of Tarpaper Sky 's songs, but they don't frame the album as a whole. This is Crowell at his best: focused, balanced, clever, at times profound. It's a welcome return to form.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/15/2014
  • Label: New West Records
  • UPC: 607396630424
  • Catalog Number: 6304
  • Sales rank: 16,394

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rodney Crowell Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Douglas Dobro, Guest Appearance
Eddie Bayers Piano, Drums
Pat Buchanan Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
John Cowan Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Steve Fishell Steel Guitar, Guest Appearance
Vince Gill Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Vicki Hampton Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
John Hobbs Piano
Jim Horn Saxophone, Guest Appearance
Ronnie McCoury Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Michael Rhodes Bass
Deanie Richardson Fiddle, Guest Appearance
Steuart Smith Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Harmonica, Mandolin, Electric Guitar, Vocal Harmony
Chely Wright Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Will Kimbrough Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Michael Rojas Piano, Guest Appearance
Tim Lauer Harmonium, Pump Organ, Guest Appearance
Perry Coleman Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Robert Bailey Jr. Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Fats Kaplan Mandolin, Guest Appearance
Shannon McNally Vocals, Guest Appearance
Jerry Roe Drums, Guest Appearance
Cory Chisel Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Tanya Hancheroff Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Dan Knobler Electric Guitar, Guest Appearance
Mike Ferris Vocal Harmony, Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Rodney Crowell Arranger, Composer, Producer
Peter Coleman Engineer
Donivan Cowart Engineer
Jim DeMain Mastering
Will Jennings Composer
Justin Niebank Producer, Engineer
Steuart Smith Arranger, Producer
Drew Bollman Engineer
Paul Moore Art Direction
Dan Knobler Producer, Engineer
Mary Karr Composer
Quinten Collier Composer
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