Rodney Crowell Teams With Author Mary Karr For New Album

Rodney Crowell’s upcoming release is a project of songs co-written with author Mary Karr, which features star guests Norah Jones, Vince Gill, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Emmylou Harris.

Kin, Songs By Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell is coming via Vanguard Records on June 5. Produced by Joe Henry, Kin marks the first collaboration between the two writers and is Karr’s entry into the world of music.

After reading Karr’s memoirs, Cherry and The Liar’s Club, which spent over a year on the New York Times Best Sellers list, Crowell name-checked her in “Earthbound,” a track off his critically acclaimed album Fates’ Right Hand.

In recent years, Crowell also debuted memoir Chinaberry Sidewalks (Random House), and Karr released Lit (Harper).

“I called out to her in the darkness because she was a bona fide poet I knew could write songs,” Crowell says, “and despite her professor’s pedigree, she’d ridden a bike in a mosquito truck’s fog.” Karr has taught at Harvard and Syracuse University, where she still holds a chair in literature.

Upon hearing Crowell’s songs, Karr recognized her own less than perfect family. “We grew up about 100 miles apart in the same stretch of east Texas Ringworm Belt,” she explains, adding that both childhood homes had bullet holes in them from their parents’ drunken rampages.

So, as Crowell puts it, “We settled down and raised a record.”

His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Norah Jones. He was recently inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame.


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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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