Rodney Crowell Talks Close Ties and Nashville in 1972

“It Was Competitive in the Most Innocent and Constructive Way”

Rodney Crowell believes he lucked out with the music community he fell into when he first arrived in Nashville as a young songwriter in 1972.

He was 22 at the time, working a side job as a dishwasher at a T.G.I. Friday’s to cover rent. Back then, after he’d get off work at 2 a.m. following a shift of drinking for free by finishing watered down, leftover cocktails, he’d make the 15-minute walk to a house on Acklen Avenue where rising visionaries like Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt would be hanging out, passing around guitars and sharing their best work until dawn.

“The motivation was to come up with something that you knew was really good,” Crowell said during our interview at his home in Thompson Station, Tennessee. “The chances of getting Townes to like it were very remote. When I wrote ’Til I Gain Control Again,’ Townes Van Zandt sort of nodded. And I thought, ’Yes!’

“It was competitive in the most innocent and constructive way. I don’t think the story was how good can you write, it was how true your own voice can be if you put the work into it.”

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