Charley Crockett Delivers Uncut Gulf & Western With His New Album ‘The Man from Waco’

by Clayton Edwards

 Today, Charley Crockett dropped his second album of the year. That’s an unattainable pace for most artists. For Crockett, though, it’s business as usual. Over the past few years, he’s alternated between albums of covers and original songs. Earlier this year, he gave us a cover album called Jukebox Charley. Now, we have his newest collection of original songs called The Man from Waco.

Those who are familiar with Charley Crockett’s catalog will immediately notice some sonic differences on this album. Charley switched up his recording process and it is immediately obvious. The Man from Waco is the first record to feature Crockett’s backing band The Blue Drifters. Additionally, he brought in a new producer for the project. He enlisted his longtime manager Bruce Robinson for the job.

However, the biggest difference here is that Charley Crockett and the band recorded all of these songs live in the studio. Crockett explained that he and Robinson shared the same vision for the album. “I just wanted an honest partnership. Do it all at your place, live to tape, everybody in the room. The magic is in the performances on that tape. That’s what Bruce wanted to do.”

Charley Crockett hit the nail on the head. There’s a kind of musical magic in this album that you don’t hear on even the best of his earlier work. The fact that they captured a good number of these songs in the first take just shows how well Crockett and his band know one another as well as the material.

Charley Crockett Shines in The Man from Waco

The magic in this album might be that Charley Crockett’s personality seems to shine a little more here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the man has ever held back when it comes to who he is. I’m just saying that it feels like we’re getting an uncut version of his Gulf & Western style.  

This record brings a few tracks that are much more Gulf than Western. For instance, the lead single “I’m Just a Clown,” has a smooth R&B feel to it. “Trinity River” opens up with some great New Orleans-style horns which give way to a piano-heavy blues tune. Then, there are tracks like “Cowboy Candy” and “Just Like Honey” that lean heavily into classic country. For the most part, though, the tracks on The Man from Waco strike that delicate balance between the two sides of the spectrum that Charley Crockett has perfected over the years.

More than that, we’re getting more of Crockett’s songwriting than usual. He usually slips a cover or two into his collections of original songs. Not this time, though. Charley Crockett wrote or co-wrote all 14 tracks on The Man from Waco.

Do yourself a favor and check this record out today. It’s among the best of Crockett’s albums and that’s saying something.