Rodney Crowell - Sex And Gasoline

Rodney Crowell has become one of America's greatest song poets for good reason.  His songs speak to the heart and mind and are both lyrically and melodically interesting.  "Sex And Gasoline" is his latest album and first to be released on Yep Roc R

Without out a doubt, Rodney Crowell is one of American Music’s true poets.  He’s written many major hits over the years for other artists (“Making Memories of Us” being one of the most recent ones) yet his own albums are often filled with brilliant songs that speak of the human condition.   His last three albums (“The Houston Kid,” “Fate’s Right Hand and “The Outsider”) were often personal albums that dealt with childhood and getting older.  Sex And Gasoline” is his latest album and it finds Crowell singing about women and how they go through life and sometimes the songs find Crowell trying to see the world through their eyes.

The title track (“Sex And Gasoline”) finds Rodney talking to a woman as she ages through life and he keeps reminding he that things have been the same for years, no matter how much they try to change, men will always objectify women.  Rodney then takes that thought to say, over a gentle acoustic melody, about all the ways in which women are ‘a moving work of art.’  The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design” finds Rodney singing from the point of view of a woman and how they might react to certain things in life.  Producer Joe Henry wraps the lyrics with a jumping, bluesy melody.

I’ve Done Everything I Can” finds Rodney Crowell teaming with Joe Henry to sing this song about Crowell’s daughter.  Henry takes the point of view of a friend trying to console Crowell for his own pain and guilt with a thought like this on his mind: “may the little voice that guides you/send a message through for me/reminding you that you’re beautiful/and will forever be…” Henry then says, “so you’re learning to go/and the process is so slow/while your baby plumbs the depths/you keep climbing up the steps/she was daddy’s little girl/you were ruler of the world/now she’s out there in the fray/ah, but she’ll be back some day.”  These are but two verses of a brilliantly made song.  It’s the kind of philosophical song that Crowell became known for.  It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it’s true.  Anyone who’s a parent will certainly relate to the song.

“I don’t’ mind the thought of growing old but I don’t want to lose my sense of humor/I’m okay as long I can laugh/I don’t care if everything goes wrong/even for a while/I’m alright if I can see you smile.” These are the words that start the beautifully romantic “The Night’s Just Right.” It’s a starkly simple and straight forward message that would actually make for a nice, intimate first dance at a wedding.  Funky And The Farm Boy” is, well, funky.  The record closes with the lyrically brilliant “Closer To Heaven.”

Rodney Crowell is one of my favorite artists through the years and my world is cosmically altered with each album Rodney releases. “Sex And Gasoline” is one of the best albums that I’ve heard this year and will no-doubt be placed on many year-end ‘best of country’ lists, it will surely be on mine.