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It seems strange that it’s taken veteran Americana artist Rodney Crowell until now to make a record like this: an album devoted to his home state. It may have been unintentional that all these decades of songs came together at once, but it’s no coincidence that now would be the time for Crowell to sustain such a long-form concept – he’s been at work writing his memoir. Crowell sees each of the state’s four major geographical quadrants represented in their own ways on Texas, a concept album recorded with a slate of guest including Ringo Starr, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Vince Gill, Randy Rogers, Lyle Lovett, and Steve Earle.

Propelled by Crowell’s dazzling gift for language, whether quirky, poignant or both at once, the songs of Texas are planted in deep, rich roots with the blues, rock & roll, dancehall honky-tonk, and cowboy balladry sprouting and thriving side-by-side. Throughout the LP, the captivating tunesmith unlocks searing images and a wide array of the musical styles represented in the vast landscape of his birthplace. If Texas is a deliberately ambiguous assessment of Crowell’s home state, it’s also a resounding endorsement of the enduring powers of its composer.