Naming a recording Sex and Gasoline may be enough to open a skeptical public’s eyes in this age of strained economics and purchased political exposure, but Rodney Crowell pours enough substance into his disc to keep the average listener involved.
Crowell has always been the exception to the rule involving socially aware compositions, and on Sex and Gasoline he continues that trend on the bracing title track and the tastefully drawn conclusions of "The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design."Backed by his whip cracking tight unit that includes guitar maestro Doyle Bramhall III, pedal steel and dobro player Greg Leisz, keyboardist Patrick Warren, bassist David Pilch ,and drummer Jay Belleros, Crowell searches inside the dark corners of the human soul on "Truth Decay." But, of course, that’s what Rodney Crowell has always been a master of exploring, and out of his character’s relationships come two sublime ballads, "I’ve Done Everything I Can" and the absorbing "Moving Work of Art."
Produced by Joe Henry, Sex and Gasoline strives to hit raw nerves while making one’s body sway to Rodney Crowell’s natural, flowing rhythms. It succeeds on both counts, and ranks as one of the finest recordings of 2008.
Sex and Gasoline is out now on Yep Roc Records.