Blues artist Charley Crockett recently released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots and is setting off on his first North American tour supporting Sean Hayes.
“The hook for ‘In The Night’ came to me when I was living in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The Arab spring was happening and revolution was breaking out all over northern Africa,” said Crockett of the title track. “The whole song just wrote itself in the heavy rain and lightning. I knew immediately it was going to be a powerful tune.”
Growing up with a single mother in San Benito, Texas, the hometown of Tejano star Freddy Fender was not easy for the blues singer. Hitchhiking across the country exposed Crockett to the street life at a young age, following in the footsteps of his relative, American folk hero Davy Crockett, who also lived a wild life on the American frontier. After train hopping across the country, singing on the streets for change in New Orleans’ French Quarter, busking in New York City and performing across Texas and Northern California, Crockett set off to travel the world and lived on the streets of Paris for nearly a year before searching for home in Spain, Morocco, and Northern Africa.
The blues artist returned home to Texas and released his debut solo album titled A Stolen Jewel in 2015, receiving critical acclaim in Dallas and ultimately landing him a Dallas Observer Music Award that year for “Best Blues Act”. A record “rich with Southern flavor, a musical gumbo of Delta blues, honky-tonk, gospel and Cajun jazz,” Jewel proved that Crockett, born into poverty in the Rio Grande, had come home to make his musical mark on the South.
“I noticed that there was a lot of opportunity here, which was lacking when I was growing up,” said Crockett of his trip back home to visit his mother, who had moved to Dallas from the poor South Texas town of San Benito. “All of Texas has experienced a huge cultural and economic renaissance and I knew I had a chance to get my career off the ground in that environment.”
Since the release of Jewel in 2015, Crockett, who is self-described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Merle Haggard, and Gary Clark Jr. He has shared the stage with artists like Justin Townes Earle, Citizen Cope, Joe Ely, Sean Hayes, Tab Benoit, Ace Enders, and Leon Bridges. Crockett credits Bridges with giving him the early support and confidence he needed in Dallas, after he jumped onstage with him one late night at a hometown gig and later told the Dallas Observer, “I was instantly drawn in by every song on the record…I believe the key to a good song is phrasing, melody, lyrics, and a good voice. Charley has all of that.”
His sophomore record In The Night, which was released on June 4, was recorded in a small studio outside Austin called Fort Horton. Co-produced and performed on by Jay Moeller (Gary Clark Jr./The Fabulous Thunderbirds) and Crockett himself, the duo brought in top musicians from Dallas, New Orleans, and Austin to play on the album including Jeff Dazey on saxophone, who tours with Leon Bridges, Nathan Fleming (Johnny Bush/Jesse Dayton) on pedal steel guitar, Charlie Mills Jr. on trumpet, Alexis Sanchez (The Van Sanchez) on rhythm and lead guitar, Anthony Farrell on organ (Greyhounds/JJ Grey/Mofro), Kullen Fox (David Dondero/Pat Sansone) on accordion and piano, Matt Farrell on piano, and Jimmy Sweetwater (Bo Diddley/Johnny Paycheck) on harmonica and washboard.
Engineered by studio owner Billy Horton (Nick Curran), In The Night, shows his growth as an artist, while staying true to the warm, Southern charm of his first release. Recorded in a sleepy ranch town in Texas, Crockett recorded all 13 songs on tape over three days.
“I wanted this record to be a mix of both my acoustic and electric styles,” said Crockett of his new release. “I have a deep passion for old time music and I’m a purist at heart but “there’s an electric side too and that comes from my love of Jimi Hendrix, Magic Sam, and living in big towns like New York City.”
Crockett’s raw talent on In The Night continues to show that he is very much a Woodie Guthrie of our time, as the talented blues singer carves out his place as an important original voice in American music. His debut album took the Texas music scene by storm after the travelin’ man distributed 5,000 copies guerilla-style across the state, and with his sophomore release, Crockett shows no signs of slowing down.
To purchase or listen to Charley Crockett’s sophomore record In The Night, please visit the artist’s website, Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, or top digital retailers. For more information on the blues artist, please visit www.charleycrockett.com.