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Outsider
     

The Outsider

5.0 3
by Rodney Crowell
 
If you believe the world's a bit mad, you need to get close to The Outsider. Here, Rodney Crowell, one of the great writers and producers of his time, funnels his gifts into a major event of an album. His faith bubbles to the top, no matter how grim the current prospectus. "May God forgive us our insanity / and we'll keep pressing on," he intones on "We Can't

Overview

If you believe the world's a bit mad, you need to get close to The Outsider. Here, Rodney Crowell, one of the great writers and producers of his time, funnels his gifts into a major event of an album. His faith bubbles to the top, no matter how grim the current prospectus. "May God forgive us our insanity / and we'll keep pressing on," he intones on "We Can't Turn Back." He's singing with an authority born of unswerving commitment to his message, hitting some high, anguished notes that we've not heard from him before, or at least that have not been informed by this depth of passion. His rock 'n' roll band is second to none, fueled by guitarist Will Kimbrough, whose howling, searing solos on songs such as "Things That Go Bump in the Day" are the aural embodiment of the righteous anger fueling Crowell's pamphleteering. And he infuses his soundscapes with layers of acoustic and electric instruments, rhythm sections pounding ominously or thumping like a well-conditioned heart, and background voices shadowing his own like a ghostly Greek chorus throughout, Crowell again taking a page out of the Beatles' textbook. As always, his songs are top-notch. In the pounding "The Obscenity Prayer (Give It to Me)," he mercilessly scalds conspicuous consumption and unbridled greed, while on "Don't Get Me Started," he catalogues the madness born of "scamming for oil" in the Middle East. Crowell takes the measure of our times and finds us -- as in humanity -- wanting. And yet, in the end, he finds hope in "We Can't Turn Back," expressed in the jubilant, hearty strains of an Irish-tinged melody and a lyrical conceit that counsels perseverance against overwhelming odds. The Outsider is a humanistic masterpiece.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Rodney Crowell's The Outsider is a natural extension of his last two offerings: The Houston Kid and Fate's Right Hand. Where The Houston Kid was Crowell's autobiographical confessional and Fate's Right Hand was deeply philosophical and influenced by everything from Zen to the working through of anger, The Outsider digs deep into social and political consciousness. The album rocks harder than any Crowell record in the past, as evidenced by "Don't Get Me Started," which is an anti-war anthem that takes aim at the war in Iraq. Immediately following is "The Obscenity Prayer," written from the point of view of a hypocritical right-wing pleasure seeker whose positions are not only indefensible, they are, at worst, obscene. Conversely, the Zen-like advice in "Dancin' Circles Round the Sun" is a tough country rocker with killer rockabilly guitar lines by Stewart Smith and Hammond B3 grooves by John Hobbs. It is a testament to personal responsibility and awakening that exhorts and admonishes but never preaches. There is great tenderness here, as well, such as in the acoustically driven "Ignorance Is the Enemy," with its prayer-like cadence and spoken-word vocals by Emmylou Harris and John Prine. "Glasgow Girl" is as fine a country-rock love song as has been written in recent years. The album closes with "We Can't Turn Back Now," a rousing call for acceptance, forbearance, and perseverance, whose guitars and big bassline is graced by a stellar fiddle line and a beautifully delicate tin whistle winding through it all. Crowell -- still writing hits for "Hot 100" country artists to help finance and keep creative control of his recordings -- has matured into an artist who has the of hard-won experience that displays itself as poetically wrought wisdom. His work is full of humor, light, poignancy, and killer hooks. He's now written and recorded three big topic records, all of which surpass his early work. The only thing missing here now is a record on the other big topic: Love. Perhaps that's coming. Until then, The Outsider is the Rodney Crowell recording to listen to, debate with, and be inspired by.
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
Indignation gets him rocking so righteously that the album's an unexpected ball. (A)

Product Details

Release Date:
08/16/2005
Label:
Sony Mod - Afw Line
UPC:
0827969447024
catalogNumber:
94470
Rank:
84633

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rodney Crowell   Primary Artist
Beth Nielsen Chapman   Background Vocals
Emmylou Harris   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Spoken Word,Guest Appearance
John Prine   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part,Spoken Word,Guest Appearance
Julie Miller   Background Vocals
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Richard Bennett   Guitar
Pat Buchanan   Guitar,Harmonica,Background Vocals
J.T. Corenflos   Guitar
John Cowan   Background Vocals
Chad Cromwell   Drums
Steve Fischell   Steel Guitar
Kim Fleming   Background Vocals
Shannon Forrest   Drums
Tony Harrell   Organ,Keyboards
John Hobbs   Organ,Keyboards
Jim Horn   Saxophone
Billy Livsey   Organ
Jerry McPherson   Guitar
Buddy Miller   Background Vocals
John Mock   Concertina,tin whistle
Greg Morrow   Drums
William Owsley   Background Vocals
Michael Rhodes   Bass
Chris Rodriguez   Background Vocals
Vince Santoro   Background Vocals
Randy Scruggs   Flamenco Guitar
Steuart Smith   Guitar
J.D. Souther   Background Vocals
Crystal Taliefero   Background Vocals
Randall Waller   Background Vocals
Jonathan Yudkin   Fiddle,String Quartet
Will Kimbrough   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Marcia Ramirez   Background Vocals
Trey Landrey   Drums
Jedd Hughes   Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Background Vocals
Brodie Jenkins   Background Vocals
Kacie Jenkins   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Rodney Crowell   Composer,Producer
Bob Dylan   Composer
John Grady   Executive Producer
Peter Coleman   Producer,Engineer
Donivan Cowart   Engineer,Engineering
Jennifer Tzar   Cover Photo
Tracy Baskette-Fleaner   Art Direction
Sam Martin   Engineer
Deb Haus   Art Direction,Artist Development

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

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The Outsider 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Growing up in Houston, Rodney Crowell grew up solidly grounded in country music. He was lured to Nashville by a promoter who didn’t follow through on his promise to use Crowell as an opening act on a major tour. However, Crowell eventually found his Nashville niche, first as a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band, and then as a songwriter, producer and arranger. You may remember than Bob Seger turned his “Shame on the Moon” into a pop hit. And his “After All This Time” won a Grammy. Don’t forget his “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.” Despite a slow start at commercial success in the 1980s, that changed with his regular hits throughout the decades to follow. Mainstream country success can often be elusive, despite a songwriter like Crowell having a very tantalizing appeal. “Diamonds & Dirt” was a great album from the 1990s and so were “The Houston Kid” (2001) and “Fate’s Right Hand.” (2003). He’s also written songs like “Making Memories of Us,” which Keith Urban landed n the country charts. Which brings us to today. “The Outsider” has plenty of messages. They’re honest and insightful, and his garage-band approach has the raw energy of country, blues and rock. Why, it could be argued that a song like “Beautiful Despair” even has some classical and folk leanings. “The Outsider” rightly focuses on Crowell, the songwriter. Of the eleven songs, ten were written by Crowell. “The Obscenity Prayer (Give It to Me)” is a raucous statement in support of blatant materialism, hedonism and epicureanism. That song introduces us to Rodney Crowell, perhaps even more philosopher than songwriter. With “Don't Get Me Started,” he issues a cautious warning about engaging him in discourse about war, politics, poverty, corporate America, genocide, and more. Of course, his ingenious song has already gotten him started with his angry statement. Inspiration for the song stemmed from an encounter he had in an Irish pub where Americans were blamed for all the world’s problems. Although Crowell may sound incensed, “The Outsider” also has calmer songs for smooth sailing. These include “Glasgow Girl,” “Say You Love Me,”and a cover of Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm,” sung as a duet with Emmylou Harris. The former song features some exquisite guitar work by Randy Scruggs. Friends John Prine, Buddy and Julie Miller also help out on the album. “The Outsider” gives a set full of thoughtful songs that are both edgy and seductive. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, OR.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Houston Kid, Fate's Right Hand, The Outsider--the last 3 albums from Rodney Crowell are so incredibly good that I'm stuck between admiration, inspiration and just plain jealousy. He's been turning out Alt-Country, Alt-Pop, Alt-whatever he feels like for nearly 20 years--but on the last 3 albums he's reached a zone of song writing that is simply other-worldly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Rodney Crowell at The Old Town School Of Folk in Chicago last year, just before this came out. Being hearing impaired I missed the great lyrics. Finally got around to hearing a copy of the CD. Just love it. Need to get my own copy so I have the lyrics. This guy gets smarter all the time. These songs rock pretty hard and it all comes together when Rodney sings his words. I enjoyed Fate's Right Hand, but I just love this one so much more. A bit more radical in expression. Love to see what he does next. I buy very few cds. This is a must have.