Billy CrockettIn Session Album Review

In a day and age of same old, same old fast food carryout, In Session is an invitation to pause and enjoy a thoughtfully-prepared, full-course collection of delectable delights, each created and designed to provoke insight and enjoyment in a deeply satisfying sequence.

In Session invites you into one rare day in the studio for an intimate experience with performing songwriter/producer Billy Crockett and bassist Roscoe Beck (best known for his work with Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes). Featuring handpicked songs from his catalog of original and classic favorites, In Session is playful, thoughtful, poignant and elegantly simple.

The album opens with “Record Player,” a light-hearted invitation to “drop the needle” on the ol’ phonograph and enjoy a nostalgic return to the days of Sam Cooke, “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Twist and Shout.” As warm and comforting as the morning sun, we are reminded of the true satisfaction of that old vinyl, a feeling and warmth that mp3s, Pandora and Spotify just can’t touch.

Crockett points out that like a faithful, old friend who is always there for you “When your darlin’ don’t come home, your record player knows,” and offers that “the world is moving mighty fast, change comes every day, but your soul was made to last—it’s an LP, it’s a long play.”

Lest we get carried away with merely having a good time with good feelings, we are drawn deeper into the meaning of human existence with songs like “The Question Pool,” Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy,” “Drought” and the haunting and intriguing “Ghosts,” one of the most creative and thought-provoking songs I’ve heard in a very long time.

The perfect shake up, wake up from this thoughtful reverie is the quirky, dizzy and whimsical “Rabbit Hole,” along with the encouraging gratitude-stirring “That’s Something.”

The album winds down with two of Crockett’s favorite covers, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch”—the last song to be recorded on the album and done in only one take. It is intriguing to hear the sheer joy in Crockett and Beck’s playful crafting of Dr. Seuss’ beloved Grinch. It’s one of those rare moments where two truly seasoned artists have fun, open up and just see what happens. Brilliant!

Supported by the raw and daringly honest and naked bass musings of Beck’s 200 year-old Italian bass, Crockett’s well-thought-out guitar arrangements are sharp and sensitive as a surgeon’s knife, cutting away all that is unnecessary, leaving room for the essence of the song and its timely message.

Time and again Billy Crockett reminds us what it means to be human. He is a master of getting out of the way of what’s really important. Like trying to remember a dream from which you have just awakened, you find what is important is not so much in the details, but more in the way it made you feel. It stays with you all morning, and if you’re lucky, for the rest of your life.

M Music & Musicians magazine

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