Rodney Crowell

Rock
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Editorial Review

RODNEY CROWELL
Album review: "Rodney Crowell: Acoustic Trio Live"

So much attention has been paid to "Chinaberry Sidewalks," the new memoir by singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, that it's easy to forget he has also released a new album, "Rodney Crowell: Acoustic Trio Live," available for download at www.rodneycrowell.com.

Missing the recording of Crowell on tour with Will Kimbrough and Jenny Scheinman would be a shame. A live album showcases what Crowell does best — performing with such heartfelt emotion that listeners feel as if they're in a late-night confessional with a close friend.

One favorite is "Ashes by Now." Although Crowell rarely plays the song live, he pulls out all the stops here, even adding percussion. But Crowell's music is arguably at its best when he plays it in the starkest possible way. Consider "Moving Work of Art," which consists of little more than his plaintive vocals and acoustic guitar occasionally punctuated by fiddle and other light instrumentation.

In his upcoming performance, Crowell plans to weave the gritty tales of his childhood told in "Chinaberry Sidewalks" around the songs he came to write as an adult. If this recording is any indication, that will be quite a treat.