On Monday, November 14th, 2022, Charley Crockett took the stage at the Ryman Auditorium for his first ever headlining performance at the Mother Church to a sold-out crowd, and put on a show for the ages. Saving Country Music can attest to this, because yours truly was in the audience. It felt like a very rare evening with all the stops pulled out to make it perfect. Now we know why.
We’re used to Charley Crockett releasing albums at a two-per-year clip as one of the hardest working men in country music. As 2023 droned on, you knew it would be sooner than later that something new would be on the way from him. Now we know that something will be Live From The Ryman to be released on September 29th as both an album and a concert film. The mostly complete set from the Ryman show will include 23 total songs.
For Charley Crockett’s Ryman debut, they ran the footlights out like the ones Johnny Cash once famously kicked out and got himself banned from the Grand Ole Opry for a spell. The backdrop to the stage was golden velvet, as was the skirting around the band’s risers. Stepping foot into the Ryman that night was like taking a trip back to the 1950s.
The Ryman Auditorium is a great place to see any artist, regardless of genre. But with the way Charley Crockett reignites appeal in the Golden Era of country music, The Ryman makes for the ideal location for a Charley Crockett show. The performance also included one especially spine-tingling moment when Crockett played his song “Music City U.S.A.” right there in the heart of Music City. As was observed at the time,
Something about that song, at that time, and in that venue made for such an unbelievably singular moment, after Charley rang out the final note, the crowd came to their feet, broke out in uproarious applause, and didn’t stop for what seemed like an eternity. It was as if all of the pent-up frustrations people have with the state of country music today and how the genre treats artists like Charley Crockett came out in one big spontaneous exhalation.
Rarely or ever do you experience such a randomly generated standing ovation in the middle of a set like that. The only reason people stopped clapping and cheering is because Charley Crockett wanted to stay on time and play the next song. But rest assured—and those in attendance will attest— Charley Crockett and his rendition of “Music City USA” at the Ryman Auditorium was a moment they will never forget.
And luckily for everyone who was not in attendance, it was captured for posterity and made it onto this album and concert film with Crockett’s backing band The Blue Drifters, who were also in rare form that evening.
Charley Crockett started his career busking on street corners and lurking in back alleys. “The alley is just outside, but it’s a long way from here,” Crockett said that night, referring to the famous alley between the Ryman and the legendary haunts of Lower Broadway like Tootsie’s and Robert’s Western World. It’s where you can most feel the ghosts of country legends lurking.
Some like to criticize Charley Crockett as a show, or a shtick. Well, of course it is. But it’s a show better than most, which recalls all the goodness of classic country and American roots music, and makes it feel alive in the souls of a modern audience once again.
Live From The Ryman is now available for pre-order.
- “Cowboy Candy”
- “Time of the Cottonwood Trees”
- “Just Like Honey”
- “Black Sedan”
- “The Man from Waco”
- “Between My House and Town”
- “The Valley”
- “Jukebox Charley”
- “Music City USA”
- “Midnight Run” & “Lesson in Depression”
- “Don’t Tell Me That”
- “Welcome to Hard Times”
- “Name on a Billboard”
- “Jamestown Ferry”
- “I Feel for You”
- “Travelin’ Blues”
- “Round This World”
- “Trinity River”
- “I’m Just a Clown”
- “Goin’ Back to Texas”
- “Tecumseh Valley”
- “Paint It Blue”