Making a collaborative album with some of the most iconic artists from Texas and beyond wasn’t exactly what Houston native Rodney Crowell had in mind when he first started out to write and record his latest record. It just sort of happened that way. First a theme started to develop around the material he was working on. Then he reached out to San Antonio-native Steve Earle to perhaps guest on a track, and later Billy Gibbon’s of Houston-based ZZ Top. Next thing he knew a whole slew of Texas artists were on board, as well as Ringo Starr. Now the result will be Rodney Crowell’s latest record aptly titled TEXAS to be released on August 15th.
“For the last few years, I’d been writing Texas-centric songs and revisiting some of my tunes from as far back as the mid-seventies,” Crowell says. “Last year, I started referring to the collection of songs as the TEXAS album. Interestingly it all started with Ringo Starr who, through a mutual friend, let me know he was keen to record a track. Before I knew it, Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson, Randy Rogers, Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill had climbed on board. Ray Kennedy and I took hold of the production reins, enlisted a cast of bad ass musicians and voilá, TEXAS was born. Man, was it a fun record to make.”
This won’t just be a Texas record in name. The album is said to embrace the musical legacy of the Lone Star State, from twangy two-stepping country songs, to cowboy ballads, to blues rockers embracing the roadhouse influence of Texas music, to even spoken word tracks and songs filled with Texas history. All but four of the 11 tracks will include guest appearances. Along with ample Texas talent, Vince Gill and Ronnie Dunn will also make appearances.
“I have to admit, my heart almost stopped when I got this phone call from Rodney,” says Randy Rogers, who appears on the album’s first song with Lee Ann Womack. “There are really not words to explain how honored I am. He is a true legend to all of us who dream of playing our songs for people who care.”
Lee Ann Womack, who is originally from Jacksonville, TX in the eastern part of the state, appears on two of the tracks of the new record. “I love to work with people who are the best at what they do,” says Womack. “Singing with Rodney is like a master class from one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time.”
The album will also come right as Rodney Crowell is scheduled to be inducted into the Texas Country Hall of Fame in Carthage, TX on August 10th.