Charley Crockett @ Choctaw Grand Theater, Durant, OK

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
They say good things come to those who wait. I’ve been waiting to see Charley Crockett for about three years now. The next to last day of 2022 would finally put me front and center with Mr. Crockett, this show was definitely worth the wait! Out of the gate I should probably get you acquainted with Charley Crockett. The first thing you should know about Charley is he has paid his dues to get where he’s going. While honing his performance skills, the 38-year-old Texas native has played music for anyone who would listen from Spain to California.

In 2015, Crockett returned to Texas, gaining some acclaim for his self-released debut album, A Stolen Jewel. Keeping up the hustle, he puts out another ten albums over the next seven years! Finally in 2021, Charley’s hustle pays off being awarded Emerging Artist of the Year at the Americana Music Honors and Awards in Nashville. Now you may ask, “What kind of music does he play?" Well, after seeing him live, I don’t know if I can give you a definitive answer, but I’ll try!

A stage reminiscent of simpler times, greets a whole bunch of Charley Crockett fans in Choctaw Casino’s Grand Theater. Touring in support of his latest album, The Man From Waco, the troubadour wastes no time introducing the Crockett faithful to his genre-defying style. A lone trumpet courtesy of Kullen Fox ushers Crockett on stage. For the rest of the night, the music coming through the theater’s PA is a treasure trove of blues, rock, country and folk. Covers of George Jones, Tanya Tucker, and Bob Dylan are thrown into the mix for fun.

Charley speaks fondly of his influences and mentors. One of his biggest inspirations was Texas singer- songwriter James Hand. So big in fact, he made an entire album of Hand’s songs titled, 10 For Slim: Charley Crockett Sings James Hand. Nearing the mid-set point he begins to unwind a bit, as he shimmies and swaggers through, “Music City U.S.A.” In between songs Charley drops little, meaningful nuggets of information. Such as quote from James Hand, “Anyone can pray for rain son, so you best get busy digging a well.”

Charles Mills Jr. joins Crockett on stage for “Trinity River”, a powerful meld of blues, jazz, and country. Mills Jr. plays a powerful trumpet and a mentor to Charley during his time in New Orleans. By this time audience members were dancing in the aisles and appreciative of the assembled musicianship. Crockett asks for a hand for his band, “The Blue Drifters”, stating “they make this 10-dollar cowboy look pretty good.” He also reminisces, “I liked playing the Gilley’s bar on the casino floor, but I think I like this a little better.” I’m with you Charley, I’m liking it too!

As with most good things in life, they don’t last long enough. One being the Greyhounds, the night's opener joining Crockett for “In the Night”, closing out the main set. Chants of, “Charley, Charley, Charley” welcomed the crooner back for a few more songs. After a solo acoustic version of “Blackjack County Chain”, the Greyhounds come back for a raucous rendition of “I Shot the Sheriff.” Nearing the end of “I’m Just a Clown”, a thankful Crockett slowly strolls off stage, leaving the Blue Drifters to finish out the night.

So, you ask, “what kind of music does he play?" My answer, “all of it!”

A big thanks to Charley’s management for finally making it happen and to Choctaw Casino for hosting another great show!

Photos of the show are below:

Contributed by Duane Clawson

Charley Crockett @ Choctaw Grand Theater, Durant, OK Charley Crockett @ Choctaw Grand Theater, Durant, OK Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on January 02, 2023 Rating: 5
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