As 2019 was coming to a close, legendary wordsmithing troubadour, Rodney Crowell, was working on a new batch of songs.
At the time, there was already a heavy feeling in the air—between worsening economic, political and environmental crises and a cancer diagnosis for a close friend (producer Joe Henry), Crowell had a lot brewing in his mind. So, he did what he’s always done: channeled it all into songs. In the end, he created a reflective masterpiece, Triage, the 70-year-old’s 18th studio album, out July 23 via RC1 Records with Thirty Tigers.
While the record was well on its way by the time the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the proceeding quarantine still had a profound effect on Crowell, even inspiring him to write a few new tunes trying to make sense of everything. Ultimately, Triage shows his songwriting talents at their finest—using a wide palette of moods and images, he evokes something reverent and solemn, yet beautiful with striking moments of joy. In a way, when he began writing these songs, he embarked on a search for solace… and it seems he just might’ve found it.
Now, Crowell is the focus of the latest episode of American Songwriter’s Off The Record series. Speaking on everything from the album’s origins to his process as a songwriter to some new territory he’s explored in quarantine (spoiler alert: there might be a Rodney Crowell “bedroom pop” record on the way), he opened up about the journey to figuring out exactly what he wanted to say. Watch the episode below: