Review: Another Triumph From Rodney Crowell

Rodney Crowell/The Chicago Sessions/New West Records
Four Out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Over the years, fans and followers have come to expect nothing but absolute excellence from anything that has Rodney Crowell’s name attached to it. And for good reason. Crowell invests absolute emotion and sincere sentiment into each and every offering, one reason why he resides in the upper tier of today’s absolute best singer/songwriters. With his latest effort, The Chicago Sessions, those skills are, naturally, apparent as always, and given his decision to put Jeff Tweedy in the producer’s chair, another exceptional album is all but assured.

As always, Crowell is in prime form, and the ten songs that make up the set list hold to the high standard he’s known for. Whether it’s the easy sway and casual caress of tracks like “Lucky” and “Somebody Loves You,” the sassy strut of “Oh Miss Claudia,” or the tender touch given beautiful ballads such as “Making Lovers Out Of Friends,” “Loving You Is the Only Way To Fly,” “You’re Supposed To Be Feeling Good” and “No Place To Fall,” Crowell imbues a personal perspective into every song. He has a way of making the listener feel invested and never less than effortlessly engaged. It has nothing to do with the powers of persuasion. Rather, it’s all about shared sentiment, with an emphasis on humanity and humility in equal measure.

Granted, Crowell doesn’t always delve into deeper terrain, although a handful of songs—the rousing “Everything At Once” and the moving and meaningful “Ready To Move On”—are thoughtful and provocative to a decided degree. However at the same time, the material remains readily relatable, and there are no obstacles to appreciating either the effort or intent. It’s simply a solid example of astute songwriting at its best, another collection on which Crowell can once again rest his reputation. And that’s more than enough reason to consider this yet another essential acquisition.

Photo by Jamie Kelter Davis / New West Records

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