Outlaw country with deep Texas roots: Crooks' latest release, The Rain Will Come
For the past few years, local country band Crooks has been forging one unique path through Austin. They've found refuge among SXSW showcases and haunts as varied as east side joint, The White Horse, and South Congress’s most revered stage, The Continental Club.
What Crooks brings to the already-diverse Austin country music scene is a reformed, modern style of outlaw country that’s deeply rooted in Texas tradition. But make no mistake, “Crooks Country” isn’t “Texas Country,” and there’s nothing “Red Dirt” about it.
On Tuesday, Crooks released its first full-length album, The Rain Will Come, a collection of hard-hitting country tunes that are stripped clean of polish and packed with grungy rock undertones. One listen to The Rain Will Come and images of Willie, Merle and the iconic cover of their 1983 duet album Pancho and Lefty are conjured; The Rain Will Come is all things dusty, dry, raw and southern.
“There’s definitely a little something for everyone on it,” says Crooks frontman, Josh Mazour of the album that will speak clearly to country purists, rockabillies and folk fans, alike.
In Crooks’ latest endeavor you’ll find a common honky-tonk thread: drums reminiscent of classic, pared down Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard-influenced guitar licks (think “Big City”). But you’ll also discover well-developed horns sections and skilled fills by fiddle phenom Warren Hood and Grammy Award-winning accordion legend Flaco Jimenez (of the Texas Tornados).
The album’s immediate standouts — “My First Gun,” “Corn And Bread” and title track “The Rain Will Come” — are varied in style. Some maintain clear rock roots, while others have heavy Tex-Mex influence — but, at the core, they are undeniably country.
“Some songs are care-free, summer drinking songs, and others are more dark and moody,” says Mazour. Either way, these are the kind of tunes that will have you heading to a watering hole — even in the middle of the day — to grab a bottle of Shiner and toast to Texas’s music pioneers.
Produced by Danny Reisch (White Denim, Spoon, Shearwater), The Rain Will Come dropped on May 16 and is available at Waterloo Records and through iTunes. “We’re really proud of this record and can’t wait to share it,” Mazour says of the album that has already been featured online via Garden & Gun and TM Daily Post.
Crooks will celebrate the album’s official release with a show on Saturday, May 19 at Antone’s before taking the modern outlaw album on the road for a summer regional tour.