Rodney Crowell is best known as a songwriter (and former husband of Roseanne Cash), a member of Emmylou Harris's back up band, a member of a band The Cherry Bombs which included Vince Gill as well, and an award-winning producer. He's worked with Johnny Cash, Crystal Gayle, Guy Clark, Wynonna Judd, and Chely Wright among others, and scored a series of chart-topping singles in the late 80's and early 90's as a solo artist. In 2004 he won the AMA (Americana Music Association) Song of the Year award for "Fate's Right Hand," and in 2006 the AMA gave him a lifetime achievement award for songwriting (an honor that went to Willie Nelson the following year). He's a member of the Songwriting Hall of Fame. I knew who Crowell was--growing up in the sticks, country is about the only radio option--but I didn't know that he'd grown up in Houston.
Around the time that I read Chinaberry Sidewalks last fall, I noticed that Mary Karr began posting comments about Rodney Crowell on Twitter and YouTube. It turns out that the two know each other, even collaborate. These two great writers could have been long lost siblings, otherwise unique voices detailing a part of the world I know too well. I love Crowell's book, and I'm happy to write that Chinaberry Sidewalks hits bookstores today (Jan 18th). Rodney Crowell is touring all over the country, including Mississippi, Houston, and Austin--if he's nearby, you absolutely MUST check him out.