11 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Houston Kid is replete with the imagery of a Texas childhood. The power pop tune “Telephone Road” summarizes all the sense memories Rodney Crowell can conjure, but in a larger way The Houston Kid is about those memories’ thorniness. As much as Crowell remembers the fun he had as a youngster, his memories also bring back the terrors of “The Rock of My Soul” and “U Don’t Know How Much I Hate U,” both of which address his father’s violence. In spite of its uptempo demeanor, “Topsy Turvy” is one of music’s more harrowing portraits of domestic violence, told from a 10-year-old’s perspective: “Momma's on the sofa with a big black eye/I cross my heart and tell myself I hope they die.” Country music has long had a preoccupation with nostalgia, and it’s to Crowell’s credit that he refuses to burnish his childhood memories by erasing his pain. The Houston Kid is uniquely powerful for how it incorporates moments of fear and rage alongside the sights and smells of Houston in the ‘60s.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Houston Kid is replete with the imagery of a Texas childhood. The power pop tune “Telephone Road” summarizes all the sense memories Rodney Crowell can conjure, but in a larger way The Houston Kid is about those memories’ thorniness. As much as Crowell remembers the fun he had as a youngster, his memories also bring back the terrors of “The Rock of My Soul” and “U Don’t Know How Much I Hate U,” both of which address his father’s violence. In spite of its uptempo demeanor, “Topsy Turvy” is one of music’s more harrowing portraits of domestic violence, told from a 10-year-old’s perspective: “Momma's on the sofa with a big black eye/I cross my heart and tell myself I hope they die.” Country music has long had a preoccupation with nostalgia, and it’s to Crowell’s credit that he refuses to burnish his childhood memories by erasing his pain. The Houston Kid is uniquely powerful for how it incorporates moments of fear and rage alongside the sights and smells of Houston in the ‘60s.

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