Rodney Crowell has long been a master storyteller, the most fascinating of which are always his own.
“It Ain’t Over Yet” is no exception and quite possibly the hardest-hitting one yet.
Never has a song more brilliantly and emotionally captured the journey of a man at a crossroads in his life, where sometimes it feels the only way to look is back. The questions of relevancy — and self-worth, the measures of success, the hurt in failures, the hopes, dreams, loves lost and the unknown that lies ahead — are all posed (and answered) by the ones in his life who really know the answers.
One particular verse has Crowell recalling a woman who knew him best with hair “two shades of foxtail red” and eyes “sea blue-green,” an image that calls to mind his ex-wife Roseanne Cash on the cover of her 1985 LP Rhythm and Romance.
And just as you begin to see the image of Cash in your own mind, like magic, Cash appears in the video, playing the roles she now plays in her ex-husband’s life: friend and collaborator.
This is the first time the two have appeared on an album together since Cash’s album Interiors in 1990.
Wise friend and collaborator John Paul White and legendary harmonica Mickey Raphael also lend a hand in the song and video.
But the moments pondered by Crowell in the narrative aren’t positioned in a manner of complete sadness and longing. It’s more about a sense of acceptance that leaves a feeling of finality and peace with the way things turned out, which is exactly where wish to arrive at major markers on your life’s journey.
And just like he’s reminded in the song, this journey for Crowell is far from over.
“It Ain’t Over Yet” is one of the many gems on Crowell’s newest album Close Ties.