Latin Conference & Awards

Crowell Celebrates 'Outsider' Status On New CD

Rodney Crowell has been trying to shake labels like "country" and "singer/songwriter" for years, and it's a message he delivers loud and clear on his latest studio album.

Rodney Crowell has been trying to shake labels like "country" and "singer/songwriter" for years, and it's a message he delivers loud and clear on his latest studio album. Though it's due June 7 from Sony Nashville, "The Outsider" is anything but a country album.

Kicked off by the upbeat rockers "Say You Love Me" and "The Obscenity Prayer," the set defies categorization as Crowell taps his varied influences throughout.

The artist relies on a large cast of talented collaborators to flesh out the 10 original songs and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Shelter From the Storm." The list of guest vocalists alone reads like a "who's who" of Nashville iconoclasts, including with Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Buddy & Julie Miller and J.D. Souther.

Once again, Crowell turned to guitarist Will Kimborough to add a little fire to about half of the tracks. Other familiar Nashville players heard throughout the set are bassist Michael Rhodes, guitarists Pat Buchanan and Jedd Hughes, keyboardist John Hobbs and drummers Greg Morrow and Shannon Forrest.

"'The Outsider' is a culmination of a lot of things I've been working diligently toward as a recording artist," Crowell says. "Hopefully it will render my past pigeonholing obsolete while positioning me more solidly as a socially conscious American singer/songwriter. Wouldn't that be entertaining?"

Long before "The Outsider" is released, Crowell will be playing it on the road. He will open a tour March 14 in Nashville and following it with a March 16 showcase during the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Amidst a slate of club and theater dates are plenty of festival appearances, including March 26 at the Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, Fla., April 30-May 1 at Wilkesboro, N.C.'s Merlefest and June 11 at Chattanooga, Tenn.'s River Bend Festival.

Here are Crowell's tour dates:

March 14: Nashville (Bluebird Cafe)
March 16: Austin, Texas (Antone's)
March 18: El Campo, Texas (Greek Bros.)
March 19: Waxahachie, Texas (Texas Music Theater)
March 20: Parker, Texas (South Fork Ranch)
March 23: Vienna, Va. (Wolftrap Barns)
March 24: Ashland, Va. (Ashland Coffee and Tea House)
March 25: Carrboro, N.C. (Carrboro Arts Center)
March 26: Live Oak, Fla. (Suwannee Springfest)
March 31: Fort Smith, Ark. (Media Center PAC)
April 22: Lubbock, Texas (Cactus Theater)
April 23: Austin, Texas (Old Settler's Festival)
May 1: Wilkesboro, N.C. (Merlefest)
May 12: Sellersville, Pa (Sellersville Theater 1894)
May 13: Montclair, N.J. (Outpost in the Burbs)
May 15: Albany, N.Y. (The Egg)
May 17: Annapolis, Md. (Rams Head Tavern)
May 20: Philadelphia (Non-Comm Radio Convention)
May 21: Dahlonega, Ga. (Wildflower Festival)
June 10: Chicago (Old Town School)
June 11: Chattanooga, Tenn. (River Bend Festival)
June 12: Nashville (3rd and Lindsey)
June 14: New York (B.B. Kings)
June 20: Dublin (Vicar St.)
June 23: Knoxville, Tenn. (Sundown in the City Festival)
June 24: Newport, Ky. (Southgate House)
June 25: Lexington, Ky. (Gig)
June 26: Charleston, W.Va. (Mountain Stage)
July 22: New York (South Street Seaport)
July 23-24: Philadelphia (XPN Festival)