Charley Crockett hasn’t had the easiest life. One of the shining examples of the modern country music era, his music sounds so real because there’s a good chance that he’s lived through the heartache and pain that you’re hearing. After undergoing open heart surgery to save his life, the Texas born artist has revealed his latest album Welcome to Hard Times, and dammit if it isn’t a game changer. Produced by Mark Neill the album brings a sadness that’s uplifting while being embedded in old school country tones that flow from beginning to end.
The title track “Welcome to Hard Times” that opens things up has the kind of honky tonk piano that reminds you of easier times. The lyrics ring true to anyone out there right now while Crockett’s vocals have the remorse and anguish of someone who’s seen the other side of the coin. Picking up the pace on “Run Horse Run” there’s plenty of tone like a train chugging down the tracks while the country notes still get emblazoned throughout. For “Tennessee Special,” Crockett proves he can honk the honk as well as tonk the tonk.
But the album really blossoms when Crockett digs deep within himself. On “Fool Somebody Else” he sounds down but the music is up, with “Heads You Win” he paints the tone of a man who’s seen loss in every corner while with “Rainin’ in My Heart” all of the pain comes forward without being a downer. And while we found solace in tracks like “Blackjack Country Chain” and the wondrous arrangements of “The Poplar Tree” the true gem of the twelve songs comes on “Wreck Me.” Mixing fifties doo wop with country semblance, Crockett takes you deep within his repaired country heart and delves true sadness of a failed relationship. It’s honest and true, proving that Crockett can really shimmer when he’s delivering music at his darkest moments.
Welcome to Hard Times is available physically directly through Thirty Tigers. It’s available in all digital outlets or it can be streamed on all streaming sites.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of Red 11.