Published Sep 15, 2010Rodney DeCroo's 2005 live record, War Torn Man, was an instant classic, and it was only his second release. He followed with 2008's quietly effective Mockingbird Bible, which dropped the widescreen country rockers, but made for great company during midnight bouts of narcotic depression. On his latest, the Vancouver, BC-based singer-songwriter migrates between both poles, covering all points in between across a sprawling, inspired double album. DeCroo shuffles noir-ish genre exercises like "Elijah, Come On!" with the Crazy Horse crunch'n'plod of "Riverboat," while his band, the Convictions ― with no less than Carloyn Mark on backing vocals ― swing beautifully from vicious rockers like "Paris Spleen" to such indelibly pretty tracks as "Voyager." DeCroo splits the difference on the astounding "Minotaur," pouring acid on his psychic wounds, against an almost pillow-y sound. The result is like soft rock with fangs. As ever, DeCroo's best subject is himself, largely because his biography is a horror show of madness, violence and addiction. Canada certainly has bigger roots stars, but none who write as vividly and affectingly about the road back from Hell. "You ain't Steve Earle, you ain't Neil Young, you ain't Bob Dylan," he sings in "You Ain't No One." But he is Rodney DeCroo, which is really starting to count for something.
Did people advise you not to do a double album?
Oh, yeah, some people did. They were the same people who advised me against releasing a live album. I'm glad they did too, because they're thoughtful people. Their objections forced me to look closely at what I was doing.
How important is Convictions guitarist/producer Jon Wood to what you do?
He is essential to what I do. I've been working with Jon since I started playing live. He's unlike me in nearly every way and yet he can really get inside my songs, both as a player and producer. He's ridiculously talented.
You're a critics' fave, with a small, but dedicated, following. Is that enough for you?
Well, if I was to follow the indie book of cool I'd say, "Oh, yeah, that's enough for me" and then gaze disinterestedly into the distance. I'm lucky to receive the attention that I do, both from writers and people who listen to music, and I want to write, record and play music for the rest of my life. But I'm going to do it regardless, and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it. (Northern Electric)