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The only child of a hard-drinking father and a Holy Roller mother, acclaimed musician Rodney Crowell was no stranger to bombast from an early age. Despite the violent undercurrents always threatening to burst to the surface, he fiercely loved his epilepsy-racked mother and idolized his blustering father, a honky-tonk man who took his boy to see Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash perform live, and bought him a drum set so he could join his band at age eleven.
Chinaberry Sidewalks also vividly re-creates Houston in the fifties, teeming with musical venues where name-brand stars brought glamour to a place starved for it. But at its heart this is Crowell’s tribute to his parents and an exploration of their troubled yet ultimately redeeming romance. Wry, clear-eyed, and generous, it is, like the very best memoirs, firmly rooted in time and place and station, never dismissive, and truly fulfilling.