[Blue Rock Artists]
Billy Crockett tears open his heart and pours out a measure of emotions that has been tucked in the corners of his soul. He carefully peels back each layer to give a guilt-free peek into the thought-provoking ideas dancing around in his head. And it’s truly an enjoyable ride. His lyrics paint portraits and landscapes, his guitar mastery is exceptional, and with his tasteful tunes and moving melodies, this album is packaged and presented with so much attention to detail—allowing listeners to tap their feet and sing along.
Crockett crafts his words carefully and thoughtfully, saying so much with so little. The storytelling in this album is even more effective with the calculated sparse and precise guitar work infused with folk, jazz, blues and a whole lotta soul. The combination leaves the listener completely satisfied, yet wanting more. And that’s indeed an art in itself.
Whether it’s his sexy “Take Me,” or his affectionate nod to tunes from his past in “Record Player,” or the joyful “That’s Something” that begs you to sing along, or his soulful tribute to the incomparable Mavis Staples simply titled “Mavis,” Crockett finds a way to help treasure every moment of this joy-filled ride.
The deeper meaning within each song is especially exemplified in “Drought,” “On Your Way,” “Ghosts” and “Spare Me.” But the definite standout track is a gem buried in the middle of the album on Track 6, “Already Perfect.” Maybe it’s because the listener can so easily identify with every word in this song. I challenge everyone to read the poetry within this song:
“I wish I may, I wish I might—that’s the story of my life
But here and now, tonight—it’s already perfect.”
For his first album in seven years, Crockett has chosen to start it with the brilliant philosophical comments that are incredibly timely for this election. With the wonderful Tom Waits-like percussion provided by the amazingly talented Eric Darken, and the rock-solid impressive bass of the renowned Roscoe Beck, the title track is one of the most powerful and memorable tunes from this sincerely delightful album. The metaphors and allusions pierce through lines like:
“Where goes the rabbit hole—I don’t know, I don’t know”
“One lie Pinocchio—starts to show, starts to show”
“What hides the fatal flaw—shock and awe, shock and awe”
“The Devil’s holy grail—love for sale, love for sale”
“What shall our pleasure be—irony, irony”
“Can’t feel the shame anymore … Where goes the rabbit hole?”
It’s so easy to love the many references to tales in “Rabbit Hole.” In fact, when Crockett played this song over the weekend, he said he did not write it about the current election season, but he just wanted to write “a happy little modern tale of dread.” That statement exemplifies his unrestrained playfulness with the music and lyrics so easily seen throughout this remarkable album, including the final song “Big Old World.”
Written and produced by Crockett himself, Rabbit Hole is a thoroughly enjoyable ride. One can easily see the reflective nature of the world of wisdom Crockett has experienced through his years of making music—this time examining his life a bit more carefully, and sharing it so honestly. After many listens, Crockett can take me anywhere he wants. I can go down the rabbit hole with him, as long as he promises not to spare me any of the emotions and insight he so willingly bears in this album—because here and now, it’s already perfect.
– Merlin David
M Music & Musicians magazine