My CMT Crossroads Experience

Due to shear dumb luck I was able to attend an invitation only taping of Country Music Television’s “Crossroads” programs featuring, get this, Rosanne Cash and Steve Earle. I know, holy shit!

Crossroads is toutied as bridging country music and rock music. Past duets have been more like the meeting of both genres most bland, like the pairing of Bon Jovi and Sugarland. And some pair one great (Hank Williams Jr / ZZ Top) with a dud (Kid Rock / Brooks & Dunn). But sometimes they do it right like with their partnership of Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello, Ryan Adams and Elton John (!) and with this show.
I’ve been a fan of Earle’s since the mid-80’s when he was riding high on his first three releases and I’ve seen him once since being in New York. Rosanne Cash I’ve wanted to see mostly out of curiosity – how does the offspring of a legend stack up?
The filming was done in the 100 year-old, Mason-built Manhattan Grand Center Ballroom off 34th near Madison Square Garden. The Ballroom is now owned by the Unification Church which is led by Rev. Sun Myung Moon (I wonder if the Earle, a celebrated Left-winger, knew he was performing in a hall owned by a  Right-wing wacko)
The program director came out and had the audience run through a litany of laughter, appease and standing applause shots for the cameras and then the show was on.
The show started with Earle’s “Guitar Town” which also ended the show. Because of the magic of television if a performer, or typically the director, doesn’t care for a performance it’s simply done again. Real concerts don’t get “do overs” but the songs were so great I didn’t mind.
Other song covered were Earls “Devil’s Right Hand” and Cash’s “Burn Down This Town” and “House On The Lake” from her newest release “Black Cadillac.” The two also did a nice cover Rosanne’s Daddy’s “Big River.”
I left buzzed by being a part of Country-Rock history and taking some small comfort that Country Music Television doesn’t completely suck.

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