Review: Charley Crockett Expresses Gratitude on ‘$10 Cowboy’

Videos by American Songwriter

$10 Cowboy
(Son of Davy/Thirty Tigers)

1 notes – Pass
1.5 notes – Mediocre
2 notes – Average
2.5 notes – Above Average
3 notes – Good
3.5 notes Great
4 notes – Excellent
4.5 notes – Exceptional
5 notes – Classic

There’s busy, and then there’s Charley Crockett’s brand of busy. The country/folk/blues singer/songwriter is on a neverending creative streak. Starting with his 2015 debut, Crockett has crafted about a dozen studio albums (plus a live one), combining covers and originals for his own Son of Davy label (he’s a distant relative of Davy Crockett). 

He has also toured relentlessly. He took a few months off in 2019 for open heart surgery, but soon after released another record, The Valley, and went on performing later that year. 

Crockett is the definition of a hardcore troubadour, a self-described ramblin’ man exemplified by the rootsy ruminations on $10 Cowboy, his first studio collection since 2022, primarily penned on the road. The title track reflects on his struggles—graduating from singing on street corners to selling out Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

Musically, Crockett and longtime producer Billy Horton keep the approach straightforward and uncluttered, if not always stripped down. A soulful sound enhances songs about the nation’s state such as “America.” This includes a surprising yet perfectly placed jazz trumpet solo. 

Elsewhere, female gospel singers and even occasional strings (especially effective on the countrypolitan “Good at Losing”) augment Crockett’s leisurely, unruffled nature. Tracking live to tape adds to the recording’s warmth.  

The tunes, none over four minutes, tell succinct, colorful stories. “City of Roses” takes us to an unnamed city east of Dallas where those flowers “are all that you see.” We’re introduced to people left behind (“Spade”), hanging out in bars (the bittersweet “Diamond in the Rough”), and struggling with gambling (“Ain’t Done Losing Yet”). There’s a theme of hope among the forgotten connecting these naturally melodic, easy-rolling, folk/pop/country tracks.  

I’m thankful for every day Crockett sings on “Lead the Way.” It’s an honest expression of his gratitude and feelings toward life and the folks that make it worth living. 

Photo by Ryan Vestil / Courtesy REK Media Room

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