There’s a genuinely timeless quality to Charley Crockett’s music and the video for ‘I’m Just a Clown’, filmed and edited by Bobby Cochran, reinforces that impression. The song is full of rhythm and upbeat strumming, with electric guitar, horns and keys adding texture and depth. Ultimately, what makes it stand out is Crockett’s distinctive, sonorous voice; that rich, warm baritone is typically outstanding.
‘I’m Just a Clown’ is taken from Crockett’s latest album. One night on tour, Crockett and his band were driving through Waco when the subject of country singer James Hand was a source of conversation and musical inspiration. Crockett explains: “We were driving over the Brazos River and started talking about James Hand, who passed away in the pandemic. One of the guys was playing accordion and I started singing a melody. At first, we were having fun with it. We weren’t making fun of James or anything, but we weren’t taking the song seriously. But sometimes, it’s those songs that you’re not taking seriously that end up being the ones that stick and begin to take on a whole other meaning.” This was the beginning of ‘The Man from Waco’, the brand new record from Crockett and the follow-up to ’10 for Slim: Charley Crockett Sings James Hand’, which was also inspired by the Waco-born legend.
The album was produced by Bruce Robison and recorded at The Bunker, Robison’s Texas studio. Initially intended as demo sessions, the recording experience soon became something more. Crockett says: “I just wanted an honest partnership: do it at your place, live to tape, everybody in the room. The magic is in the performances on that tape. That’s what Bruce wanted to do, that’s what I wanted to do. When we were done, I said, ‘these are masters, not demos.” For the first time, Crockett’s long-time band The Blue Drifters joined him in the studio throughout the entirety of the sessions for ‘The Man from Waco’, which was recorded live-to-tape. The result has an energy and freshness that is immediately engaging. Crockett says: “Most of these songs were cut in a few takes. There was a looseness that led to a lot of inspired performances that felt good right away.” They feel good for us listeners too. Right now, the hugely prolific Charley Crockett is the real sound of genuine, authentic country and the heir to the genre’s greats. He’s already amassed over 200 million streams during his career and his star will continue to rise as he regularly puts out out consistent, fluent music like this. Check it out.