One of the most memorable scenes from James Szalapski’s extraordinary “Heartworn Highways” is at the end of the country/folk documentary Christmas Day song-along. Fueled by cigarettes and wine Steve Young, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Jim McGuire and others are shown having a raucous guitar pull at Guy and Susanna Clark’s Nashville home. Near the end Rodney Crowell leads the gathered in beautifully delivered “Silent Night.” Crowell renders a tone of beauty that brings a hush to this seasoned (and buzzed) band of new outlaws.
Now a veteran of the country/Americana field he’s hardly coasting. Crowell along with his old Hot Band collaborator, Emmylou Harris won a Best Americana Album Grammy for last year’s “Old Yellow Moon.” He also performed at an Everly Brothers tribute will in LA to pick up the prize. He most recently held court a few well-received sets at South By Southwest.
One track on Crowell’s upcoming album, Tarpaper Sky (April 15) offers a gumbo-flavored track, “Fever on the Bayou.”
The song has been decades in the making. It began as a collaboration between Will Jennings. But, says Crowell “Due to our inability to come up with a suitable last verse, the song lay dormant for twenty-plus years. An off-chance conversation with a friend of mine in which the word Franglais—an improper synthesis of the French and English languages as I understood it—gave me the idea that the last verse should echo the Cajun French I’d heard working on construction crews along the Texas-Lousiana border. Once I had that last verse the recording was a snap.”
Check the lyric video for “Fever on the Bayou” below. Tarpaper Sky will be out April 15 via New West. Pre-order here.