Rodney Crowell | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

Rodney Crowell All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Sun., March 6, 7 p.m. 2011

Anyone who picks up Rodney Crowell's idiosyncratic new memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks (Knopf), hoping to read hundreds of pages about his life as a country-music star, his experiences writing for and collaborating with artists from Emmylou Harris to Bob Seger, his infamous cocaine habit, or his years as Johnny Cash's favorite former son-in-law (from a decade-plus marriage to Rosanne Cash) will be sorely disappointed. Crowell avoids the Behind the Music-style approach almost entirely; instead, he focuses on his relationship with his fascinatingly flawed parents and stories of growing up impoverished on the outskirts of Houston in the 50s and 60s. But that's not to say the book doesn't provide any insight into the musician he'd become—the chapters where he sees an early Johnny Cash concert and sits in with his hard-drinking dad's honky-tonk band make it pretty clear how he ended up as one of the keepers of Nashville's traditionalist conscience during its frequent periods of gaudy excess. —Miles Raymer

Price: Sold out

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