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Charley Crockett Brings The Rio Grande Valley To Oklahoma

Charley Crockett is stopping by Oklahoma once again. Coming to Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa this Friday, December 27, he's got a new album titled The Valley, named after the Rio Grande Valley of his childhood and recorded just weeks before a lifesaving heart surgery.

He spoke about writing the first song on the album with Evan Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours, what it takes to play on the street, the holidays and the latest album.

On the holidays

That's usually a big time for us to play. All the holidays we end up playing.

I love Chuck Berry's holiday stuff. His holiday stuff is really cool.

I love John Coltrane's version My Favorite Things. Man, that's such a good song. Whenever I hear that song, I get so sentimental.


On The Valley and his origin

I went down to the valley this last weekend. And the more and more that I've travelled in my life—I mean that's all I've really done in my adult life—as I've done that, you're always like looking for that idea of a place that's your home or your origin.

Everybody in the world has to relate to the world in some way by where you first remember being from.

And that place is the valley in my mind. It's a place I can see really clearly.

That area has changed very little to my surprise. These things, these mesquite trees and these grapefruit and the warm people make up the core of who I am.

On working with Evan Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours

I've got a lot in common with Evan, besides being born on the same day of the same year. We were born just a couple of hours apart. Played more shows with those guys than probably anybody ever. He's such a good songwriter and draws so heavily from southeast Oklahoma where he's from.


On playing on the street and making a living as a hobo musician

It's actually not the fact that it's illegal that keeps people from doing it. Playing on street corners, playing in subway cars and stuff, like the reason that people are afraid to do it has nothing to do with the law. It has to do with being afraid to show yourself in a public place.

If you could give everything else up and live for this, people will tell you that you're crazy.

The thing that pushes people out to play in the street comes from a deep desire to be heard. It really just comes down to like, 'Are you somebody who's trying to go somewhere to the point where you're willing to put yourself out a street corner?' It takes a certain kind of brave heart.

It's a romantic story to read about Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly. It's a whole other thing to live the lifestyle that those guys did in order to bring that music to us. It's incredible.




Matthew Viriyapah is KOSU's production assistant and host of the music podcast Songwriters & Tour Riders.
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