In touch with his feminine side
Sex & Gasoline (Yep Roc/Work Song)
ESSENTIAL "Forty Winters"
"Sex & Gasoline" comes billed by its author as a record about "feminine power," and at times it does address that topic. The title song rails against, without offering much insight into the whys and wherefores of, contemporary culture's obsession with youth and beauty; and the portentously-titled "The Rise and Fall of Intelligent Design" offers the tantalizing suggestion that understanding what it is to be a man requires an understanding of what it is to be a woman, only to abandon any real exploration of that idea. But "Sex & Gasoline" is a really a continuation of what Rodney Crowell has been doing since his return to recording in 2001 with the brilliant, semi-autobiography of "The Houston Kid": trying to make sense of who he is and what he's become, of his world and the world around him. When he does so via sketches where the particulars imply some universal, such as the father-daugher rumination "I've Done Everything I Can" and the retrospective "The Night's Just Right," he's at his best. [Stuart Munro]