Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy
Charley Crockett's Walk Through 'The Valley': "That's What Artists Do" | Newport Folk 2019
"I think everybody in life has to walk through the valley, and a lot of times, we got to do it by ourself. That's part of the struggle and the beauty of being a human being," the country troubador told us at Newport Folk Fest
Some voices are unmistakable. True modern troubadour Charley Crockett has one such voice, and he knows how to use it. Street-trained and road-worn, Crockett's musical journey has bounced him around the globe, from his homeland of Texas, to New Orleans, Barcelona, Paris and more. At every stop in his journey, he's sharpened his skills as a singer of storytelling songs. But his latest twist in the road might also be his most cathartic.
On Sept. 20, he will release The Valley, his fourth album in three years, which he recorded in the weeks leading up to what would be a life-saving heart surgery. Sung by a man who's made a global voyage with the uncertainty of his own return, these songs read as the next chapter of his chronicles. According to Crocket, channelling his life experiences, no matter how dire, comes with the territory.
"It's what artists do," he says, when asked the complicated question of how such intense uncertainty shaped the songs and performances of his new album.
Just after Crockett's first-ever performance at Newport Folk Festival, we sat down with the sharp-dressed man to hear about his forthcoming project, the journey it took to make it and how singing songs on subways and in train stations taught him everything he knows about making music.
This is your Newport Folk debut - what makes this festival special to you?
Oh, it has to be the heritage. It has to be the history, my man, it really does. And I've been looking out over this harbor since we got here this morning, it's just a real special place. So I'm thinking about some of those greats like Lightnin' Hopkins and a lot of the Bob Dylan and the folk artists, and the just the roots music artists that transformed America through this festival and that decade and that era, that lives with me. That's what I know about the festival… and I was shocked to get invited. So thanks to whoever made that happen.
Yesterday, you announced your new album The Valley is coming out on Sept. 20. What can your fans that have been following your career expect from this album?
I think everybody in life has to walk through the valley, and a lot of times, we got to do it by ourself. That's part of the struggle and the beauty of being a human being. And I've recently just been through some things in my life, and lots of people are going through stuff, but I had some life-saving heart surgeries that ultimately, to be honest with you, it just kind of transformed the way I see my life and the wold around me. Well, I recorded these songs about a week before those operations, just really uncertain about where I was going. If I was going to stay here, go up to the house, or just the quality of life. So, I made those recordings and I urged the people around me to put it out.
Hey, you can pre-order my upcoming album “The Valley” now: https://t.co/T5OVussdu6— Charley Crockett (@CharleyCrockett) July 26, 2019
Pre-save on @Spotify and hear “Borrowed Time” and “The Valley” today: https://t.co/wZXq5pm77H pic.twitter.com/pSDZIRKKmt
How do you think that intense uncertainty manifested musically for you on this album?
That's what artists do, and it's our responsibility to reflect our times. That's what artists are here for, I think, or whatever you want to call it. So, that's all I'm doing. I'm just painting pictures of the life that I'm seeing, and I have learned from my journey to pull from tradition to find myself. But I am a man of my times, so I have to project this time too. That's all I can do, is reflect living now. And a lot of the spirituals that I've learned over the years playing in the street and traveling like I have, refer to life as the valley. A lot of the Carter Family stuff that I've really gotten into. Just that spirituality, it's a universal thing when you talk about something like the valley, or that mountain to climb. And we don't want the mountain to disappear, we want the strength to climb it.
Wow, that's an incredible answer. You've lived and played music all over the world. What's your approach to playing to a festival crowd where you've got some people who know you very well and are singing along, and you've got some people hearing you for the very first time?
I suspect most of them are hearing me for the first time, and it's why somebody like me, I might have a lot of anticipation coming to this place. I learned how to do this in public, like actually. A lot of people might be afraid to get out in public and play on a street corner or in a subway platform or inside a subway car. I have traveled around the world and just counting on people to lend you a hand, and when you come at music from that direction, people aren't asking you to be there. So, when people interact with you, that's a very real exchange that I can feel and see and understand.
I guess the short way to answer that question for you is, I've spent my whole life learning to stand behind my guitar, and the reality is half of what we do is the people listening. Literally, half of it. I'm only doing half of it because that's the whole thing. It wouldn't be an art if there wasn't somebody listening to it. And once somebody hears it, it honestly belongs to them as much as it does to you. If it means something to somebody, I'm lucky enough to have that going on.
"It wouldn't be an art if there wasn't somebody listening to it. And once somebody hears it, it honestly belongs to them as much as it does to you. If it means something to somebody, I'm lucky enough to have that going on."
What was the selection process like for your 2018 covers album, Lil G.L.'s Blue Bonanza? Are these songs you've been playing your whole life?
Yeah. To be honest with you, what it is mostly is songs I've known for years, and that's why I play so much stuff that comes from anywhere from gospel to country to blues to soul music or traditional jazz or whatever you want to call it. It's mostly songs that I've just been picking up over the years that I just always thought were so good, and look, I write a lot of songs. I write a whole lot of songs, but I just don't think I'm worth anything if I'm not learning the great songs from before me, for myself personally.
And a lot of the giants, the people that I see as maybe my mentors or heroes were anybody from even a Dolly Parton or a Etta James or Hank Williams or somebody like that, Willie Nelson, these people are amazing songwriters. But if you look at their catalog, half the stuff they ever recorded they didn't write, and there is something to be said for when a great artist knows when a song is so great it has to be sung. Because sometimes the song is best sung by somebody that didn't write it, and sometimes the only person that can sing it well is the writer.
You know of some kind that I can see that's growing, I just figure that each time I put out a record, it's doing better than the last one, and that's a real blessing. So I'm going to do what I've been doing, which is I live on the highway and I play really hard. I been doing that ever since my mama got me a guitar at a pawn shop, going toward the valley nonstop. I'm going to Europe in a few days. I got to get home to my lady for a few days and tell her I love her, and then I bet before we know it again it'll be Newport next year.
We look forward to seeing you there and good luck on everything.
Thanks a lot, I appreciate y'all taking the time to speak with me and I'll be twice as good next time.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Pearl Jam Named Record Store Day 2019 Ambassadors
Pearl Jam's Mike McCready says "if you love music," record stores are the place to find it
Record Store Day 2019 will arrive on April 13 and this year's RSD Ambassadors are Pearl Jam. Past ambassadors include Dave Grohl, Metallica, Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), and 61st GRAMMY Awards winner for Best Rock Song St. Vincent.
McCready was also the 2018 recipient of MusiCares' Stevie Ray Vaughan Award.
The band was formed in 1990 by McCready, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Eddie Vedder, and they have played with drummer Matt Cameron since 2002. They have had five albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and four albums reach No. 2.
"Pearl Jam is honored to be Record Store Day's Ambassador for 2019. Independent record stores are hugely important to me," Pearl Jam's Mike McCready said in a statement publicizing the peak-vinyl event. "Support every independent record store that you can. They're really a good part of society. Know if you love music, this is the place to find it."
With a dozen GRAMMY nominations to date, Pearl Jam's sole win so far was at the 38th GRAMMY Awards for "Spin The Black Circle" for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Pearl Jam will be performing on March 3 in Tempe, Ariz. at the Innings festival, on June 15 in Florence, Italy at the Firenze Rocks Festival and at another festival in Barolo, Italy on June 17. On July 6 Pearl Jam will headline London's Wembley Stadium.
Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show
Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion
There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.
The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.
This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.
"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."
Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.
Find Out Who's Nominated For Best Rap Album | 2020 GRAMMY Awards
Dreamville, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Tyler, The Creator, and YBN Cordae all earn nominations in the category
The 2020 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Best Rap Album. While we'll have to wait until the 62nd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Jan. 26 to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for Best Rap Album.
Revenge of the Dreamers III – Dreamville
Dreamers III, the third installment in the label’s Revenge of the Dreamers compilation series, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved gold status this past July. In addition to a Best Rap Album nod, Dreamers III is also nominated for Best Rap Performance next year for album track “Down Bad,” featuring J.I.D, Bas, J. Cole, EARTHGANG, and Young Nudy.
Championships – Meek Mill
In many ways, Championships represents a literal and metaphorical homecoming for Meek Mill. Released in November 2018, Championships is the Philadelphia rapper’s first artist album following a two-year prison sentence he served after violating his parole in 2017. Championships, naturally, sees Meek tackling social justice issues stemming from his prison experience, including criminal justice reform. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, his second chart-topper following 2015’s Dreams Worth More Than Money, and reached platinum status in June 2019. Meek Mill's 2020 Best Rap Album nod marks his first-ever GRAMMY nomination.
i am > i was – 21 Savage
Breakout rapper and four-time GRAMMY nominee 21 Savage dropped i am > i was, his second solo artist album, at the end of 2018. The guest-heavy album, which features contributions from Post Malone, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, and many others, has since charted around the world, topped the Billboard 200 – a first for the artist – in the beginning of 2019, and achieved gold status in the U.S. As well, nine songs out of the album’s 15 original tracks landed on the Hot 100 chart, including multi-platinum lead single “A Lot,” which is also nominated for Best Rap Song next year. 21 Savage’s 2020 Best Rap Album nomination, which follows Record of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance nods for his 2017 Post Malone collaboration, "Rockstar,” marks his first solo recognition in the top rap category.
IGOR – Tyler, The Creator
The eccentric Tyler, The Creator kicked off a massive 2019 with his mid-year album, IGOR. Released this past May, IGOR, Tyler’s fifth solo artist album, is his most commercially successful project to date. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking his first time topping the coveted chart, while its lead single, "Earfquake,” peaked at No. 13, his highest entry on the Hot 100. Produced in full by Tyler and featuring guest spots from fellow rap and R&B stars Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Solange, and Playboi Carti, among many others, IGOR follows the rapper’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, which received the Best Rap Album nod that same year.
The Lost Boy – YBN Cordae
Emerging rapper YBN Cordae, a member of the breakout YBN rap collective, released his debut album, The Lost Boy, to widespread critical acclaim this past July. The 15-track release is stacked with major collaborations with hip-hop heavyweights, including Anderson .Paak, Pusha T, Meek Mill, and others, plus production work from J. Cole and vocals from Quincy Jones. After peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, The Lost Boy now notches two 2020 GRAMMY nominations: Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for album track “Bad Idea,” featuring Chance the Rapper.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.