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The Outsider [Digipak]


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Emmylou Harris (vocals); Will Kimbrough (electric guitar); Steve Fishell (steel guitar); Jonathan Yudkin (fiddle); John Mock (tin whistle, concertina); John Hobbs (organ); Tony Harrell (keyboards); Michael Rhodes (bass guitar); Eddie Bayers, Shannon Forrest (drums).
  • Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell's literate, introspective lyrics and his musical mix of country, rock, and folk continues to develop and deepen on this 2005 release. Whereas 2003's FATE'S RIGHT HAND leaned toward rootsy-but-modern country, THE OUTSIDER turns up the guitars, as the amped-up opener, "Say You Love Me," indicates, and the slinky, thumping title track confirms. But even while Crowell adds muscle to his sound, his pen is still mightier, and THE OUTSIDER is filled with clever turns of phrase, satiric barbs, and vivid imagery.
  • The fact that Crowell covers a Bob Dylan song here (a lovely take on "Shelter from the Storm," rendered as a duet with Emmylou Harris) is not coincidental. The influence of Dylan hangs heavy in Crowell's songwriting, from his critiques of consumer culture ("The Obscenity Prayer") to his moments of personal revelation ("Beautiful Despair"). Help from luminaries like Harris, John Prine, and Buddy and Julie Miller help round out the sound of the THE OUTSIDER, another fine addition to Crowell's increasingly impressive catalogue.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (No. 983, p.108) - 3 stars out of 5 "...The album provides a ramshackle but resolute bar-band attack and well-crafted soft stuff..."

Entertainment Weekly (No. 834, p.144) - "...[T]he album's an unexpected ball....[A] career best..." - Grade: A

Uncut (p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Crowell is on the hottest songwriting streak of his 30-year-plus career."

Dirty Linen (p.50) - "[Crowell] has elevated his art to a level where he can reflect on the world around us in a way that makes us sit up and take notice."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.101) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Crowell employs his gift for setting complex ideas to twangy hooks."
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