@review MARLA CANTRELL
Kin, Songs By Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell
Vanguard Records - Release Date: June 5, 2012
All you had to do to sell me on Kin was tell me that Mary Karr helped singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell write it. Karr is the author of The Liars Club and Lit, two memoirs so brutal and beautifully written that years later you’ll still remember where you were when you read them.
Crowell certainly remembered Karr. He called her out in his song “Earthbound” in 2003, listing her as one of his reasons to stick around this great old planet. He sent her a copy, and later met her in New York where they discovered they had a lot in common. Both were from Texas. And both came from home where liquor messed their families up something awful.
The album that resulted makes you reexamine your life, your choices, and your family that, let’s just face it, can make you crazier than a sprayed bug.
One of the highlights of this album is Norah Jones in “If The Law Don’t Want You.” She sings, “If you ain’t running from the past, you ain’t making my heart beat fast. ..Momma’s on the front porch staring him down. Ladies at the beauty shop coming unwound. If the law don’t want you, neither do I.”
Yeah, that’s messed up, in a perfect kind of way.
But the grip of the album is Lee Ann Womack singing “Momma’s On A Roll.” “Daddy loves Momma like spreading on molasses thick. Momma thinks Daddy’s just a backwoods, cornbread hick. Momma plus daddy equals trouble when they start to drink. Me and my sister pouring liquor down the kitchen sink.”
It’ll break your heart, and then you’ll play it again.
The talent of this album is undeniable. Vince Gill, Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and Roseanne Cash belt out songs so beautifully performed you’ll want to call up your kin, made amends, and have them over for supper.
In the end, this piece of advice lingers. “Don’t flirt too much with your wife’s best friend, or your best friend’s wife,” Crowell sings it like a man who knows what he’s talking about.
Good advice. Even better album.
5 out of 5 stars.