Charley Crockett Brings His Gulf & Western Sound to ‘CMT Campfire Sessions’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

As temperatures and leaves fall, it’s a great time to gather ‘round a campfire and share some time with your fellow Outsiders. If you have some talented pals, they might even break out a guitar and sing a few songs. If you’re not in a position to light a fire and don’t have any friends who are equipped to do a little picking and singing, that’s okay. CMT has you covered with Campfire Sessions. This week, we can pull up a seat around the digital fire with Charley Crockett.

When you sit around a fire and swap songs, you tap into a tradition older than country music. Before the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers made country a marketable genre, people were letting the crackling of a fire keep time while they shared songs and stories. Charley Crockett’s catalog is full of nods to the traditions of country music. So, seeing him playing a few tunes around CMT’s fire seems fitting.

Melissa Goldberg, VP of Digital & Social Media at CMT spoke about bringing Crockett to Campfire Sessions. “There’s a magic to Charley Crockett,” she said. “You hear it in his recordings and live shows, and you see it when he walks in the room. On a warm summer evening, out there amongst the creatures, we tried to bottle a bit of that magic in his Campfire Session.”

Goldberg went on to add, “Sharing this one with fans, I can only hope that they’ll be as enamored with Charley Crockett as we all are.”

Charley Crockett Lights up Campfire Sessions

For his episode of Campfire Sessions, Charley Crockett pulled three songs from his latest LP, The Man from Waco. He recorded the album live in the studio with his backing band, The Blue Drifters. The album sees Crockett and his band bringing an uncut version of their “Gulf & Western” style much like what you’ll hear live.

With this solo acoustic performance, though, we see a different side of Charley Crockett. It shows us the essence of that “magic” that Melissa Goldberg talked about. Like most stripped-down performances, this one allows Charley’s songwriting and singing to shine. At the same time, he gives some insight into the meanings behind the songs.

“July Jackson” (0:36)

Charley Crockett doesn’t give much of an intro to this song. However, the song’s story tells itself. It’s a murder ballad about a jilted wife who unapologetically kills her husband and his mistress. The final verse ties it all together. He ended the song by saying “I hope she makes it out of that mess.”

“Black Sedan” (3:33)

Charley Crockett started “Black Sedan” by telling the story behind it. “I remember riding in a black sedan and getting dropped off at a venue in Kansas. As we was stepping out of the car, the driver says, ‘This here’s the end of Wichita.’ So, the song was born.”

This is another one of Crockett’s songs about the life of a traveling musician.

“Time of the Cottonwood Trees” (6:58)

Song intros don’t get sweeter than the one Charley Crockett gave for his final number of the night. “I wrote it for my baby, the prettiest girl that ever did walk God’s green earth. I’m talkin’ about Taylor Grace.”

It’s a sweet and poetic love song that seems to tell the story of Charley Crockett and Taylor Grace’s relationship.