Veteran Americana artist Rodney Crowell has turned to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy to produce his upcoming album, The Chicago Sessions, which will be released May 5 by New West Records. The project was recorded at Wilco’s Loft studio in Chicago and features Tweedy on the first single, “Everything At Once.”
“The way that Rodney writes is deeply connected to a classic era of country songwriters that I’ve always loved,” says Tweedy. “In my estimation, it’s as close as I can get to working with Townes Van Zandt or Felice and Boudleaux Bryant — people who crafted songs with a very specific sensibility. And I like being near that.”
Speaking of “Everything At Once,” Crowell enthuses, “It occurred to me that Jeff and I are both songwriters, and we ought to write something together for this album. We could have harmonized on it and gone down an Everly Brothers route, but ultimately we decided to just sing in unison and throw it out there like an all-skate. I love that we didn’t get too precious about it.”
The Chicago Sessions is rounded out by two songs from Crowell’s past: “You’re Supposed To Be Feeling Good,” which was recorded by Emmylou Harris in 1977 but has never appeared on a Crowell album, and a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “No Place To Fall,” which he had the honor of hearing performed for the first time in Van Zandt’s presence in the 1970s.
“It’s been imprinted on my psyche ever since,” Crowell says of the latter. “I wanted to record it as an homage to somebody that I learned a lot about songwriting from.”
The Tweedy family’s contribution to the album extends beyond Jeff, as his son Spencer plays drums throughout The Chicago Sessions.