Charley Crockett

Charley Crockett

BETWEEN LABEL PR STRATEGIES AND CROWD-FUNDING CAMPAIGNS, MOST ARTISTS FEEL FORTUNATE TO RELEASE A NEW ALBUM EVERY TWO TO THREE YEARS. BUT THROWBACK COUNTRY AND R&B ARTIST CHARLEY CROCKETT AIMS TO PUT OUT MUSIC AS FAST AS HE CAN WRITE IT OR COLLECT IT, AND HE WORKS QUICKLY. THE LATEST IS A COVERS PROJECT CALLED LIL G.L.’S HONKY TONK JUBILEE, WHICH FOLLOWS 2016’S IN THE NIGHT, WHILE YET ANOTHER ALBUM IS IN THE CAN FOR NEXT YEAR. HE SAYS HE’S JUST TRYING TO FOLLOW THE PRECEDENT SET BY HIS MUSICAL HEROES.

"Well, I love to be productive. I look up to people like Ernest Tubb. He had 50 studio albums. Loretta Lynn did too. And we live in an era where it’s like, people will tell you you’re lucky to put out three records and have a seven year career. I’ve heard that before and I’m not saying it’s true. When I’m sixty-something years old, I know all that’s going to matter to me is if I’m proud of the records I’ve made.

And you know, no artist is the same person six months later. I like how you said that and I don’t like to sit on stuff. There’s thing you have to do and I have to practice patience, which when I was younger I didn’t practice and I do have good patience now but I like to be active. I love writing original songs and I have a lot of songs but I like recording other people’s songs just as much. A lot of George Jones and Etta James’ biggest hits they didn’t even have a hand in, but boy they could interpret that song."

It’s funny you’re in Nashville right now since your whole album is centered around honky tonks, but I’m guessing what you’re referencing isn’t the same thing people in Nashville picture when they hear that word. Can you tell us about your honky tonks?

The way I know honky tonk music is through the jug bands and the drinking songs we learned on the street, being in bands in the French Quarter in New Orleans and all that. So I would hear a lot of the kinda bluesier type of honky tonk country stuff, hillbilly stuff, like a lot of Hank Williams drinking songs, a lot of that type of stuff, songs of anguish and all that and you know, playing a lot in Texas and Louisiana so I would really call it more of Texas and Louisiana honky tonk, really. I did it real traditional, you know. I love the early thirties and forties and fifties, kinda western swing classic country music, I just love that. And while a lot of people are doing throwback music, classic or nostalgia music, I didn’t hear anybody doing them real - I didn’t want to use the updated sounds besides the technology that makes it easy to record - I really wanted to keep it old school because that’s the type of stuff I listen to these days.

So when you recorded it, did you do mostly live takes?

Yeah, we did them in a nice little studio, but a really old fashioned joint. And we did live takes with a three piece and I overdubbed in the pedal steel and some fiddle and straight steel, some guitar.

Where did you record it?

I recorded it at a little farm going East out of Austin from near Bass rock, by these boys that are known out of Texas for recording old school rockabilly and stuff - Billy Horton, there’s a couple brothers, The Horton Brothers. Billy recorded it and co-produced the record with me. We brought in Austin’s finest obscure honky tonkers so I got a lot of really cool dudes on it. And my favorite honky tonker of them all, Brennen Leigh, sings on about half the songs and she’s the only modern songwriter that I covered on the whole record. I just think she’s that good. She’s inspired me a lot, especially with this type of music. Brennen had put out an all Lefty Frizzell tribute record a couple years before that, that I really liked and it inspired me and I decided to mix up a lot of different artists, but that’s why I did it. And you know how the business is, you get these records out of original material and you gotta really let them get out there and run their course and let them do their thing and I didn’t want to try to compete too much with the record I had out. It was an easy way for me to record old time music that I’m really into. That one was called Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee. Jay Moeller who also produced the record with me and played drums on, he started calling me Lil G.L. when we met. There’s an old, obscure R&B singer who had a few sides that were hits and then he disappeared. This guy named G.L. Crockett from Mississippi. And he used to kid with me about us possibly being related, so he started calling me Lil G.L. and I liked it as a pseudonym. Anyway, I recorded a new album out in Memphis of all originals that’s coming out at the beginning of the year. But after we do that record, during that cycle, I want to do one called Lil G.L.’s Blues Bonanza and just do a bunch of 50s up-tempo jump blues, rockabilly type deal. Kind of do that between my original albums. That’s the idea I had.