"When you turn on CNN and there's a guy really getting his head cut off, that's when I'm sitting there shocked. That's when I realized I'm not in the business of 'shock-rock' anymore."
--Alice Cooper
July.05 Cover - Rodney Crowell PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bob Townsend   

That idea sustained Crowell as he struggled to remake his career on his own terms after a long period of disillusionment and an extended musical hiatus that began in the mid-'90s and ended in 2001.

"I just started working on the rest of my career about four years ago after taking some time off," says Crowell. "My heartfelt intention was to claim an audience for myself based on the quality of the work I was doing, not on its commercial viability. And it was a bit daunting at first. But I'm seeing it take root. I'm seeing a new audience come in."

Image A native of Houston, Texas, by way of a musical family with ancestry in Tennessee and Kentucky, Crowell first came to Nashville in 1972. He quickly fell in with a group of "misfit songwriters" that included Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, John Hiatt, Steve Young, and others who gathered at Bishop's Pub and Guy Clark's house to play each other the tunes they were working on.

"We weren't trying to make it in mainstream Nashville," Crowell says. "We were just there. Guy was the curator of a scene at that time that was really about songwriting and very little else. We were doing a lot of drugs and drinking and carrying on, but with our songwriting it was serious."

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