Charley Crockett Saddles Up and Plays the Cowboy of His Dreams in ‘The Valley’ Video: Exclusive

Charley Crockett
Lyza Renee

Charley Crockett

Charley Crockett lives out some childhood cowboy fantasies in the new video for "The Valley," premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Feb. 27).

"Getting to do that cowboy s--t on film...I've been trying to do that since I was a little boy," Crockett tells Billboard of the video, which is for the autobiographical title track from his latest album.

The San Benito, Texas native is, in fact, an avid Western film fan and boasts that "one of the two TVs on the bus has to be on Encore Westerns, 24-7. Those [films] are whitewashed and have a lot of f---ed-up situations and a lot of it bothers me, but I still love it for the attitude, the motifs, the cinematography, how they use nature to sell the picture. I love that stuff."

"The Valley" video, filmed in Lone Pine, Calif. and drawn from a longer short film by director and co-star Ben Christensen and the Saltwater Cowboys, portrays Crockett as a horse-riding, guitar-toting cowboy who's good with a rifle and makes a dramatic escape from some kidnappers.

The longer clip, which will be released via streaming services March 2, shows more of his character's personality -- a friendly and maybe mildly obnoxious chatterbox that Crockett claims is not too far off the mark.

"I got in with these cats I really felt comfortable around, and the role called for me to play Charley Crockett as I am, just riding on a horse and shooting a shotgun, which I was able to do, so it translated," says Crockett, who met Christensen during a fashion shoot for Ely Cattleman. "If you watch Paul Newman, he plays basically the same man, always -- that kind of rebellious, anti-hero. A lot of actors are like that. So I realized, 'Hey, I’m Charley Crockett. I'm just going to play him.' So I had a ball."

"The Valley" experience also whetted Crockett's appetite -- not for more acting but to spend more time on horseback, something he learned to do from an uncle when Crockett was younger. "I hadn't done it in a long time, to be honest, but I figured I needed to get back to horses 'cause I’m getting better and better known in this country [music] world," he notes. "I get a lot of people saying, 'I just got one question -- Can you ride a horse?' Now here I am, on screen. 'What do you think?' It doesn't look like much, but I'm up on it. I'd like to get a couple of horses, too. I definitely want to spend more time riding."

At the moment, however, Crockett -- who had open-heart surgery last year to repair effects of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome -- is spending his time making music. The Valley album hit No. 19 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart when it was released during September, and Crockett has been touring steadily to support it. He's also recorded his next album in Georgia, cutting 15 original songs for a hoped-for late summer or early fall release.

"Like every other jacka-- that you talk to, I think it's the best record I've made," says Crockett, who describes it as "a mix of country, classic honky tonk, country soul, Rhythm & Blues, traditional. This is my Gulf and Western record -- my Gulf Coast and Western stuff. That's my vision, at least." Lyrically, meanwhile, the songs continue in the same vein as The Valley. "I'm trying to expand that story," Crockett says. "It's, like, a Gulf Coast story with a spaghetti Western thing to it. That's where I'm from."

The video for “The Valley” is below.