Discussion

Win a Signed Vinyl of Rodney Crowell's 'Close Ties'

Rodney Crowell's latest album, Close Ties, is a celebration of the relationships we hold dear — even after those ties are broken through movement or death. The singer-songwriter's contemplative lyricism and careful guitar playing are on full display here, so we're pretty thrilled to be giving away a signed vinyl copy of Close Ties to a No Depression community member. 

"After Emmy and I wrote the songs for The Traveling Kind, a number of really close friends of mine die," the troubadour tells our own Henry Carrigan. "Guy Clark, Glenn Frey, my business manager of 38 years, among others — and songs like 'Life without Susanna' and 'It Ain't Over Yet' grew in that season. You know, close ties are the connections, the relationships; the most valuable part of relationships is what you learn."

From a press release:

Close Ties both demonstrates Crowell’s strengths as a songwriter and illustrates how he has learned to balance personal recollection, literary sophistication, and his profound musical reach. It’s at once his most intimate record and his most accessible, the product of years of understanding the ways songs can enter - and be entered by - life. It is a roots record, in the sense that Crowell himself has deep roots that stretch back into the alternative country scene of the early seventies. But it defies easy classification. Is it country? Is it a singer-songwriter record? “I have declared my loyalty to Americana. It’s a hard category for people to get their heads around, or at least the terminology is. But all the people who represent it - Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and more recent stars like John Paul White and Jason Isbell - share a common thread, and that thread is poet. Whether they are actual poets or their music exemplifies a poetic sensibility, generally speaking, the Americana artist
shuns commercial compromise in favor of a singular vision. Which resonates with me.”

To enter: Comment here with your favorite Rodney Crowell memory, whether it was a show, an album, or just the right song at the right time. We'll choose one winner and send them a copy of the album. Comments posted on social media don't count toward the contest. Anyone may enter but prizes can only be sent to US addresses.

Comment anytime between midnight Eastern on Friday (April 7) and 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, April 13. The winner will be announced shortly thereafter. 

(More info about the album, including a full track listing, is available here.)

I've been groovin on Rod's music for many moons, and here is my RC story: In 2014, He came and played the Wheatland Festival in Remus, MI. It was a beautiful weekend, and of course, he killed. On the late Sunday afternoon show, he was playing his set in front of about 2000 fans, and at a point in the show, in between songs, someone yelled out a request -'After All This Time". He stopped for a second, said, "Well, that song wasn't on the list, but I think I will play that"- So he launches into this great ballad, in in mere moments, you could have heard a pin drop in the crowd. It was a fab performance, and the crowd was most appreciative. Oh, and did I mention he brought along Tom Hiddleston that weekend too? Yes, "loki" was at the fest-we damn near broke the internet on Saturday and Sunday.

This should win me somethin'.......Keep a light in the window,Tom

To me, being from Houston, The Houston Kid and Fate's Right Hand are Rodney Crowell's masterpieces. Close Ties is right up there. 

When I first moved to NYC I had the privilege of seeing Rodney Crowell at the legendary and now extinct, Bottom Line.  His show was incredible and I became an instant fan.  When I came across the DVD of Heartworn Highways, with Crowell and Guy Clark, Townes van Zandt, Steve Earle and others sitting around the table, talking songwriting and drinking wine - I felt something call to the deepest part of my soul and I knew my feet were ready to find a new yet similiar path.  I couldn't name a favorite Crowell tune because each album is like a brand new discovery and makes me appreciate anew the writing and the depth this man puts into everything he creates.  Thank you Rodney Crowell - just thank you!

I got to see Rodney swap songs with Rosanne Cash, Amy Helm and Cory Chisel at the Library of Congress.  I met him when he was walking through the front door with everyone else and he couldn't have been nicer.  I love his music.

Rodney's music has been a touchstone for decades. Always interesting  and evocative. From Emmy Lou to his own releases.  'Til I Can Gain Control Again" is a fine piece of writing (that I did not heed the message of).  I do recall working in a supermarket and hearing Bob Segar's version of  "Shame on the Moon" on the overhead music, and smiling to  myself, thinking "that is a Rodney song". Still later, my guitar student was a major Rodney (and Chelsea) fan, so I learned a few more.  So it goes.

 

I remember sitting in a bar after having one too many after one night too many and I heard "Ain't Living Long Like This" for the first time. It seemed appropriate for the moment. It stuck with me and I sought out the album. I also loved "Leavin' Louisiana in the Broad Daylight"-"it's just an ordinary story about the way things go", which sums up what I think Rodney does so well in his songs. I have been listening ever since and "It Ain't Over Yet" is a great new song.

I grew up in a landlocked southwestern state, and I came of age in the time of Michael Murphey (before he was Martinized), Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff, Willis Alan Ramsey, Steve Earle,  Townes vanZandt, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou and of course, Rodney Crowell.  I would belt out "Leavin'Lousiana in the Broad Daylight" and "Ain't Livin Long Like This" in my first pickup , thinking I had enough experience in my life to know what they meant LOL.  A few years later, I moved to the Gulf Coast of Texas, had some life,  and all those songs made perfect sense in a much deeper way. I can't drive up the coast at night without listening to "Stars on the Water." Rodney Crowell is part of the soundtrack of me, and he writes those kinds of songs that evolve as we do, and say what we need them to, when we need them to. 

I don't have any fancy story.  I haven't been able to see him perform, though it would be a highlight of my year if I could.

But I do vividly remember the first time I listened to "The Houston Kid" front to back, sitting in front of an old stereo with 90s Bose speakers, and being floored the first time I heard "Love Is All I Need."  I wished it would never end.

Close Ties is a great album in the same autobiographical vein.  I've listened to it six or seven times already.

As a professional musician and teacher, Guy, Rodney and Townes have been my artistic North Stars.  I actually have spent most of my career in the classical world and have played with and met many of the world's finest musicians - I have never been starstruck around any of them.

I got to see Guy play several times but never met him - never saw Townes play live, but wore out two copies of Live at the Old Quarter before I bought a CD.  I've been lucky enough to meet Rodney after shows several times - each time I fall apart like a baby (ask my wife...) -I guess I'm just overwhelmed by the impact this music has had on my life and it all bubbles to the surface when I am able to look Rodney - who to me represents all that is good in music and poetry-in the eye and say "thank you...."

The latest adventure happend a few weeks ago - I told Rodney the story of how I made the trip to Nashville last August for the Guy Clark Celebration at the Ryman - and how when Verlon stepped up to sing "The Cape" everyone around me was getting misty-eyed.  A woman next to me grabbed my hand and held it tight - I didn't know her by name and neither of us said a word but we knew that each of us were moved by museum quality art.  After telling this to Rodney he looked at me, gave me a hug, patted my chest and said "You've got a good heart"

I can live on that for a while.....

Ok so it wasn't Louisiana and it wasn't the broad daylight. But I remember rolling down the crank window of my old Karmann Ghia early one hot muggy August morning in 1979. The back of the car was jammed with clothes, books, albums and shoes. There was no working radio or cassette deck, but on the seat next to me was a portable tape player. I had Emmylou's album "Quarter Moon" in, and I pressed play. The sun was just rising as I cruised east across the Poplar Street bridge in St. Louis, with the shining silver Gateway Arch in my rearview mirrow. I was headed off to college, leaving Missouri behind and my future ahead of me. "Leaving Louisiana" came on and I smiled. Thanks, Rodney.