JPR Live Session: Charley Crockett

Sep 21, 2018

Growing up with a single mother in San Benito, Texas, the hometown of Tejano star Freddy Fender, was not easy for blues singer Charley Crockett. 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, playing in New York City subway cars and performing across Texas, California, and everywhere in between, Crockett set off to travel the world and lived on the streets of Paris for a year before wandering 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. Crockett, who is described as elusive, rebellious and self-taught, has been compared to legends like Bill Withers, Hank Williams, and Gary Clark Jr.

He released his sophomore record In The Night, an admirable nod to his Texas country and Louisiana blues roots, in 2016 and played over 125 shows that year. “In the Night” and Crockett’s song “I Am Not Afraid” received international recognition by NPR Music as one of the "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing" and selected by David Dye to be featured on World Cafe in late July.

In 2018, Crockett releases Lonesome As A Shadow, an album of all original material recorded in Memphis at the legendary Sam Phillip's Recording Service with Producer/Engineer Matt Ross-Spang. Backed by his band of Blue Drifters, this album was recorded live to tape in the middle of a long year of touring. It's a musical gumbo of influences that showcases the various depths of Crockett's sound.