Rodney Crowell - Tarpaper Sky

Nashville master on magnificent form


On last year’s Grammy-winning
2013 collaboration with old
employer Emmylou Harris, Old
Yellow Moon, Crowell rolled
back the years to touch base
with the bygone country sound
both singers embraced in The
Hot Band. Tarpaper Sky can be
seen as an extension of that
album: less introspective or
autobiographical as Crowell’s
recent solo work, and more
a broader celebration of
country’s many hues.

Sky-punching prairie
passion is the order of the day
on the anthemic Long Journey
Home, and there are equally
rich geographical evocations
on Fever On The Bayou.
However, it’s most pleasing to
hear Crowell return to the
urban honky tonk he’s done
so well in the past on
Somebody’s Shadow and
Frankie Please.

This is nigh-on a master
class in Nashville cool,
confidently side-stepping
potential corniness on the
low-key lament I Wouldn’t Be
Me Without You and the
emotional autopsy of Famous
Last Words Of A Fool In Love.
Crowell continues to stake his
claim as one of the genre’s
most learned and accomplished
performers, and if there is a
gripe it’s that, at 11 tracks,
the party’s over way too soon.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

New West | NWA 3073 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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