Charley Crockett isn’t some “artist to watch.” He’s no up-and-comer holding onto hope for a future in the country genre. Charley Crockett from The Lone Star State is a bona-fide grown ass USDA Prime Certified Country music headliner. And when he comes strutting out across the stage, strumming up on the neck like Johnny Cash and shuffling his boots to the rhythm like Dwight Yoakam, there’s no question that it’s the pansies in popular country who stand in his shadow, not vice versa.
That doesn’t mean the naysayers don’t lay it on thick whenever Charley Crockett’s name is uttered, or the morons in the mainstream or in music media in the Nashville scene don’t discount him just because he’s not on the CMAs. He’s been dodging slurs like how he’s nothing more than a $10 cowboy from the start. Now he’s picked those chides out of his craw, and used them as the inspiration for his new album.
To be released on April 26th via Son of Davy/Thirty Tigers, $10 Cowboy isn’t just about Crockett’s undervaluation, it’s a tribute to everyone who gets overlooked and undervalued, while often contributing the sweat and blood that makes life easy for everyone else.
“Being out on the road gives you a first-hand experience of how different kinds of Americans see themselves as going through some kind of great struggle,” Crockett says. “The roughneck working the oil and gas fields in West Texas. The single mother raising kids by herself. The young man working a street corner because he thinks it’s his only option. I would be dishonest if I said I couldn’t see the thread. Each of ‘em feel invisible. I am struck by the battles they are fighting internally, and the ways they have been entrapped by what America says they are.”
This one’s for the mutts, the underdogs, and the also-rans. Long time Crockett collaborator Billy Horton returns to the producer’s chair for this one after Bruce Robison spelled him for 2022’s The Man From Waco. Members of Crockett’s Blue Drifters backing band including Kullen Fox, Nathan Fleming, and Mario Valdez appear on the album, as do other notable names such as Rich Brotherton, Dave Biller, Jason Lee Moeller, and T. Jarrod Bonta.
The album was all tracked live to tape with these respective players at Arlyn Studios in Austin. Crockett has released the title track, which he’ll perform on Jimmy Kimmel Monday night. It accompanies another reason single, “That’s What Makes The World Go Around” performed with Willie Nelson, which became the most streamed country song during the first week of 2024.
“This material is written at truck stops, it’s written at casinos, it’s written in the alleys behind the venues, it’s written in my truck parked up on South Congress in Austin,” explains Crockett. “A ramblin’ man like me, a genuine transient, is in a pretty damn good position to have something to say about America.”
$10 Cowboy is now available for pre-order on CD and vinyl.