The years 1994-2001 were quiet ones that Crowell spent as a single dad with four daughters. He ended that "retirement" with the self-produced Houston Kid which brings us back around to Fate's Right Hand, which Crowell himself has described as "a quasi-spiritual look at the complexities of living the so-called examined life. Most of the songs are born out of vulnerability of some kind those things, if you will, that spring to life when we are least prepared."
It's a fascinating album. The title track (in constant rotation on Comcast's Americana station that's channel 404 around here, and well worth tuning in to) is a gentle rant against a whole host of things, but more than that, it's a collection of great words strung together in unexpected ways:
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Double cappuccino and a heart like a tom tom
Ozone long gone that's it, I quit
Natural inclination says enough of this
Fate's right hand, I don't understand it at all.
This dark, brooding, undeniably hooky song is followed up by the exuberant "Earthbound," a paean to all the messy, wondrous things that tie us to the planet the setting moon, sex, good conversation. One thing's for sure: it's the only song ever written that mentions both Aretha Franklin and Seamus Heaney.