Charley Crockett took to the stage at The Admiral last night on his Man From Waco Tour, less than a year removed from his show at The Slowdown just before that album came out. He also played a little over a year ago at The Bourbon Theatre on the Juke Box Charley Tour. Crockett tours a lot and puts out a lot of albums. I attended all three of these shows and two others in 2021, and though there are some things that have stuck in his set over the past couple of years, it is interesting how he keeps things fresh for himself and his band as well.
Opening the show was Wyatt Flores, a young artist from Oklahoma, with whom I was not familiar. Even though he looks to only have some EPs and singles out, I seemed to be one of the only ones not familiar with him, as a large portion of the attendees on the floor sang loudly to every word of some of his songs. He was very good, as was his very young band. The fiddle player got some of the loudest ovations when she would step out and take the spotlight. He was doing the rocked-up, red-dirt country sound, but you could also hear some influence from songwriters such as Sturgill Simpson in there. I have to think you will see him around here again soon, and probably in a lot of places when his album comes out later this year.
The Admiral Stage was a good one for Charley. The band was able to do a full set up with the curtain and the stage floor lights and create that old-timey Opry-like vibe. He performed, by my count, 32 or 33 songs last night, with a focus on Man From Waco, but many from his entire catalog, and plenty of cover songs also. He will swap songs out of his setlist. Last night we did not get “Just Like Honey”, but got “Tom Turkey” ,his version of a Bob Dylan outtake from Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid that he added to. He also performed a new song that I think is titled “I Ain’t Done Losing Yet,” which he has been doing on some shows. Some of the things he has been doing the same for a bit are that he will cover a couple of James Hand songs an artist he knew who passed away in 2020. Charley did a whole album of James Hand covers. He will also drop the guitar and come out with a handheld microphone to do Jerry Reed’s “I Feel For You” and T-Bone Walker’s “Travelin Blues”, before coming back with a banjo for a couple songs. Other covers last night included Johnny Paycheck’s “Juke Box Charley”, which he has kind of made his own by this point, and Buck Owens “Act Naturally”.
The highlights of his original songs include his solo version of “Time Of Cottonwood Trees” during the encore and “The Man From Waco,” where piano, organ, accordion, and horn player Cullen Fox play a horn line that gets the biggest reaction of the night every time. Other standout tracks are “Music City USA”, “Jamestown Ferry” and “Hard Times”, which seemed to be the song people sang along to loudest.
Charley is quite the showman, doing his Dwight Yoakam style of footwork and pointing his guitar at the audience as if he is taking aim. His quick in-between-show banter never slows down the flow. He will tell you he is more of a blues singer, as he did again last night, but he is the most genuine and best thing happening in country music currently. As I see him perform on bigger and bigger stages, he is owning them all and adjusting to them while keeping the music and the charm that brought him to those stages intact.