Rodney Crowell’s first ever Christmas album, Christmas Everywhere, was released on November 2nd via New West Records. The 12-song set of all original songs was produced by Dan Knobler and features guest appearances from Vince Gill, Lera Lynn, the poet Mary Karr, Brennen Leigh, and more.Christmas Everywhere exhibits a unique and masterful approach to the traditional Christmas album from the legendary songwriter. While many selections exhibit the joy of the season, the collection also explores crass commercialization & loneliness exacerbated by the holidays, as well as songs co-written with his daughters and granddaughters. Crowell has read Clement Clarke Moore’s legendary “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” to his children, and now grandchildren, on Christmas Eve for the past forty one years. A masterful storyteller himself, Christmas Everywhere commences with the lyrical prelude “Clement’s Lament (We’ll See You In The Mall),” which sets the tone for the album with “Peace, peace, peace on earth, good will to one and all. The season starts in August now, we’ll see you in the mall.” The title track, a duet with Lera Lynn, includes a dream sequence in which she asks Santa for a time machine in which to go back and prevent John Lennon’s murder,” and the closing track, the endearing “All For Little Girls and Boys” was recorded in the early 80s and features his two oldest daughters.
Christmas Everywhere has received critical acclaim with Billboard stating, “Fifty years removed from his days as a teen playing in Houston garage bands, the six-time Americana Honors & Awards winner has returned to release arguably one of the most introspective recordings of his storied career.” Uncut Magazine in the U.K. said “Crowell conjures a collection both wryly whimsical and devastatingly sincere” while the Los Angeles Times said “One of Americana music’s most astute singer-songwriters applies his well-honed wit and observational prowess to a dozen original songs that mine the full spectrum of emotions that go with the season like tinsel and garland, coal and stockings. Healthy doses of humor sit side-by-side with sincerity in this smartly conceived, engagingly executed holiday song cycle.”
Rolling Stone Country has premiered the video for the album’s title track today, saying “Rodney Crowell’s nutty-as-a-fruitcake video for ‘Christmas Everywhere,’ the title cut from his wholly original holiday release, is chock full of seasonal nostalgia even as it plays out like a chaotic, curdled egg nog-induced fever dream.” The video was directed by Tom Krueger (Bob Dylan, U2, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M.) and features Lera Lynn, the actor W. Earl Brown (Deadwood) as Santa, Eddie Perez of the Mavericks, the album’s producer Dan Knobler, the song’s co-writer John Jorgenson, as well as Crowell’s daughter and grandchildren. It was miraculously shot in his home garage with Crowell’s wife Claudia Church overseeing set and production design. See it HERE.
Christmas Everywhere is available across digital platforms, compact disc, as well as three vinyl variants with the standard edition available on coal colored, black and grey vinyl, red and white split-colored vinyl available at Independent Retail, and a red and green marbled vinyl edition available now exclusively via NEW WEST RECORDS.
In celebration of Christmas Everywhere, Crowell will support Amy Grant & Vince Gill’s unprecedented twelve-night “Christmas at the Ryman” stand beginning tomorrow night in Nashville, TN. He has also announced additional tour dates throughout the Spring of next year (please see all dates below).
Of the album, Crowell says, “Since the arrival of my first child, the Crowell family has detonated forty-one Christmas bombs, discarding in that time-span enough wrapping-paper to be held accountable for the deforestation of, I’m guessing here, twenty-plus acres of prime timberland. In defense of our participation in the commercialization of baby Jesus’s birth, the best I can offer is the fact that for the last two decades we’ve conscientiously recycled the aftermath. A few years back it became evident to my family, and indeed myself, that I’d gone sour on all things related to Christmas, a source of particular disappointment to my wife, Claudia, whose creative flair peaked with the holidays. One rather warm December day in 2011, I heard on satellite radio, Hayes Carll’s soulfully written ‘Grateful for Christmas’ and was so moved by the song—it’s wry humor and bare-bones honesty—that I ditched whichever errand or appointment I’d set out on in favor of an honest-to-God Christmas shopping spree. Not only did ‘Grateful for Christmas’ jolt me out of a self-indulgent funk, it also tweaked my creative curiosity. I began mulling over the idea of writing an album’s worth of original Christmas songs. As far back as the early eighties, for fun and without bothering to put words down on paper, I’d made up with my two oldest daughters, Hannah and Caitlin, silly little Christmas songs that we’d sing around the house. ‘All For Little Girls and Boys’ is one of those tunes that somehow made it onto a cassette tape. Around the same time, in a proper studio, I recorded with my kids a carefree piece I’d written called ‘Very Merry Christmas,’ which, in lieu of Christmas cards, we sent out that year on cassette tape as well. Sometime around Christmas 2016, I came home to find my granddaughters, Addie and Iris—age ten and eight— sitting side-by-side and playing on our old upright piano a melody that to my ear sounded like something from the early nineteenth century. I asked them what song they were playing and in unison they replied, ‘something we just made up.’ I hit record on my iPhone and asked them to play it again. Using their melody almost entirely, I spent a couple of months composing the words to ‘Come Christmas.’ A generation had passed since I first made up a Christmas song with their mother.”
Fifty years after Crowell first started playing as a teen in Houston garage bands, he has moved into elder-statesman territory, and continues to extend the path carved out by the top-tier songwriters who preceded him. His songs have been recorded by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait), to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James) to rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger). He is a Grammy award winner, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, recipient of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association, and the author of his autobiography, the stunning Chinaberry Sidewalks.
Rodney Crowell Christmas Everywhere Track List:
1. Clement’s Lament (We’ll See You In The Mall)
2. Christmas Everywhere (feat. Lera Lynn)
3. When The Fat Guy Tries The Chimney On For Size
4. Christmas Makes Me Sad
5. Merry Christmas From An Empty Bed (feat. Brennen Leigh)
6. Very Merry Christmas
7. Christmas in Vidor (feat. Mary Karr)
8. Christmas for the Blues
9. Come Christmas
10. Let’s Skip Christmas This Year
11. Christmas In New York
12. All For Little Girls & Boys (feat. Daddy Cool & The Yule)
Rodney Crowell On Tour:
November 28th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
November 29th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 5th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 6th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 12th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 13th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 16th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 17th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 18th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 19th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 20th – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
December 23rd – Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium *
January 16th – Tomball, TX @ Main Street Crossing (Benefit with Lyle Lovett)
March 14th – Shipshewana, IN @ Blue Gate Shipshewana Event Center
March 16th – Elgin, IL @ ECC Arts Center
March 22th – Stoughton, WI @ Stoughton Opera House
March 23th – Hopkins, MN @ Hopkins Center for the Arts
* Christmas At The Ryman with Amy Grant & Vince Gill