Fate’s Right Hand
Rodney Crowell is the kind of lyricist whose sincerity can give you goose bumps. Just edging into his mid-’50s, Crowell writes with the maturity of a man who’s used to accepting himself as he is, but who can’t get too comfortable in a world where, in his phrase, “pompous politicians, left-brain bureaucrats and radio consultants” hold too much sway. Self-produced with a great band and a few guests, such as banjo master Bela Fleck and singer Kim Richey, the music has the gloss of mainstream country distressed by overdriven lead guitars. With lyrics like, “We used up Mother Nature like a 20-dollar whore/It’s a different world now… there ain’t no more,” attached to sweet, finger-picked guitar and soothing harmony vocals, Crowell explores the juncture where the human capacity for destruction and the urge to create and appreciate beauty form the whirlpool of mixed emotions that powers the human condition.