Charley Crockett, the definitive young voice in country and western’s modern reinvention, has released a new song “Run Horse Run”; a galloping psychedelic spaghetti western track from his forthcoming album, Welcome To Hard Times

Crockett’s Welcome To Hard Times (Released July 31, on Thirty Tigers)  has already connected with fans from Ethan Hawke to Diplo and is attracting significant press attention from the media including Rolling Stone who stated “Crockett evokes the loneliness and isolation of the present moment in ‘Welcome to Hard Times”.

The video is part of a cinematic series of music videos, where Crockett plays the same lonesome character traveling through the American wilderness. This episode features Crockett sprinting across desert landscapes, alongside train cars and galloping on horseback. He also continues the recurring theme of speaking on a mystical yellow phone and clutching a vintage clock. Speaking about the inspiration for the video, Crockett stated, “When I’m in Las Vegas I like to sit at the bar and watch all the races on the screens inside the Wynn Casino. There’s a comfort I find in knowing those horses are running. I remember watching people place bets on the races in the French quarter. All the old time gamblers pouring over the newspapers trying to get a fix on who’s thoroughbred was gonna come through. It’s a wild chance to take because with horses it’s really anybody’s guess. And there’s so many different ways to bet. There’s a lot of cheating going on too. A champion horse might retire to green pastures. The forgotten one’s don’t always fair so good. That reminds me a lot of the game I’m playing.”

He adds, “I feel like those race horses, coming out of nowhere from the back of the line, all the odds against you. You better watch out too because you might look over your shoulder to see me behind you thinking you’re winning but really you’re just about to get lapped. In horse racing anything can happen and the ones who start out first might end up last.”

Produced by Mark Neill, with songwriting contributions from Pat McLaughlin and Dan Auerbach, Welcome To Hard Times is a genre bending mix of classic country and rhythm & blues. It may draw on heritage sounds, but this aptly-named collection perfectly fits these troubled times. Crockett’s vision for the record, “is for the folks who feel like everything’s fixed. If you think you’re playing a rigged game, you’re right. If it seems like all the cards are marked in advance, they are. But you still gotta roll the dice, even when you know they’re loaded.”

Crockett is no stranger to hard times. In early January 2019, while at a routine doctor’s checkup. Crockett was diagnosed with Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome, a congenital heart condition, as well as Aortic Valve disease, and he had to immediately undergo life saving heart surgery. Crockett believes that this experience inspired him to make the record that he truly wanted.

Crockett stated, “I look at that scar and all I can think about is the limited amount of time I’ve got left, I wanted to make an album that would try to reclaim the conversation about country music.”

Photo credit: Bobby Cochran

Charley believes that part of that conversation is “a fixation and confusion” around his racial identity, which is ethnically diverse. Charley’s Grandmother on his Dad’s side was Creole and biracial, with black and white parents and he also has Jewish heritage. Charley has felt his diverse heritage and identity has often been the beginning and end of the conversation, when it comes to the country scene. He recently addressed the issue with a post on instagram, “Though I’ve benefited greatly from my whiteness, I have never fully identified with any race. So I’ve lived as an outcast at war with myself in a society that I both love and hate at the same time. My music tells this story. If you don’t know how race or class affects experience, it’s the first sign of privilege.”

Crockett grew up in poverty, and spent time living homeless and busking making his way from New Orleans to the subway platforms of New York City. Crockett also lost his sister to addiction and he is a twice convicted felon, “I’ve gotten more than my fair share of raw deals in my thirty six years. But I don’t let hard luck own me.”

In spite of these challenges Crockett has remained steadfast and persistent in his music career, releasing a catalogue of critically respected, self-released albums including The Valley and Lil G.L.’s Blue Bonanza, which garnered acclaim from tastemaker media. In the UK, Country Music People magazine picked The Valley as one of its albums of the year and The Sunday Times newspaper called it a “… collection that never once loses momentum”. In the US,  KXT described Crockett as, “an artist who lives up to the hype,” NPR’s All Things Considered, described him as, “blurring the lines of traditional blues, jazz, country and gospel music” and Paste praised Crockett for finding “the seam between R&B and country to slip through songs with sharp hooks and real feeling.

Welcome To Hard Times was recorded in Valdosta, Georgia at Mark Neil’s studio. The album was recorded with a studio band consisting of  Kullen Fox, Colin Colby, Alexis Sanchez, Mario Valdez, Nathan Fleming, Billy Horton and Mackenzie Rosser. For more information, please visit: http://www.charleycrockett.com/

Welcome To Hard Times tracklist:

  1. Welcome To Hard Times
  2. Run Horse Run
  3. Don’t Cry
  4. Tennessee Special
  5. Fool Somebody Else
  6. Lily My Dear
  7. Wreck Me
  8. Heads You Win
  9. Rainin’ In My Heart
  10. Paint It Blue
  11. Black Jack County Chain
  12. The Man That Time Forgot
  13. The Poplar Tree

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Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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