Music

Rodney Crowell: Photo by David DeWese
Interested in pickin' with a giant? Those who buy Gold Circle Seats for Tuesday's concert will get a chance to play with Rodney Crowell at a gathering after the show. Photos by David DeWese

Rodney Crowell in concert for Charter School

Posted July 13, 2006

Rodney Crowell, the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, will blend his guitar, his songs, and his stories in a special musical event at the Performing Arts Center this Tuesday, July 18. Starting at 7 pm, the evening will benefit the Martha's Vineyard's Public Charter School (MVPCS) music and arts program.

Mr. Crowell, who has also been named the Americana Music Organization Artist of the Year, has been writing folk-rock-country songs for decades. He is the creator of a fistful of number-one songs, many of which have been made famous by other well-known artists. After acting as Emmylou Harris's Sancho Panza early in his career, he struck out on his own to write number-one hits for Bob Seger ("Shame on the Moon"), Waylon Jennings ("Ain't Living Long Like This"), The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band ("An American Dream"), Tim McGraw ("Please Remember Me"), and Keith Urban ("Making Memories Of Us," which was recently sung at Mr. Urban's wedding to Nicole Kidman).

Rodney Crowell: Photo by David DeWese
When he was growing up, Rodney Crowell recalls, "Music...showed me oceans of other truths."

Mr. Crowell is the first country artist to achieve five number-one hits from a single album - his seminal million-seller "Diamonds & Dirt." His latest trilogy of personal exploration "The Houston Kid," "Fate's Right Hand," and "The Outsider" have gained acclaim from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Fortune, The Utne Reader, USA Today, SPIN, The Village Voice, and The Los Angeles Times. In a lengthy cover profile in No Depression, the bimonthly American roots music magazine, Mr. Crowell is credited for staring down a violent childhood in the worst part of Texas, sifting through the shifting tides of burgeoning maturity, and grappling with the costs politically, economically, and spiritually of the me-centric consumeristic reality of today's world.

"I'm not a preacher," says Mr. Crowell of his socially conscious, always personally probing work. "I think I look inside and outside - and try to balance the two. The personal is political, you know, and the political is personal in ways you don't consider - until you do. So, the more you see, the deeper I think both things run....

"As for this benefit, I think any time one can empower the next generation of artists, musicians, poets, writers, you're ensuring the truth-telling of tomorrow," Mr. Crowell said of his commitment to Tuesday's event, called Sing for A Song. "To me, music takes kids places that are miles from where they are.... I know it did for me, led me to whole other worlds, showed me oceans of other truths. So if I can help give back, what a wonderful gift to give a community that I've been told values these things - and perhaps needs a little help to maintain the standards they've set in a world of decreased funding for these programs."

Sing for a Song tickets are $150 for preferred Gold Circle Seats, which includes an after-concert reception and guitar pull with Mr. Crowell, $50 and $35. They may be purchased at Bramhall & Dunn, Vineyard Haven, Aboveground Music and Edgartown Seafood, Edgartown, and Alley's General Store, West Tisbury.