Charley Crockett: Enigma, musician, man 

After speaking with Charley Crockett, I am in a daze. Crockett is wild, even through video call. Never to be underestimated and always unexpected, Crockett calls me from a vintage convertible in a California canyon, wearing sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and chewing on a toothpick. The image in itself is startling in its glamour and surrealism – and that’s before Crockett deigns to open his mouth to speak.  


Make It Cinematic  


“I’m always coming back to ‘Midnight Cowboy’,” Crockett confesses, the 1969 John Schlesinger film – for those who don’t know – tells the tale of a vagabond con man, travelling around the US in search of what can only be called the American Dream. A life of stability and dignity often alludes the main character, Dustin Hoffman’s Ratso. The film is now deemed historically significant and is preserved by the United States National Film Registry as a cultural artefact of American life. “I was born in a small Texas town and cut my teeth in some regards on the streets of New York City.” Crockett aligns with the central character, a man who has travelled extensively across the world, only to feel misunderstood: “I come out here to California and I love it out here, but there’s always people that are speaking to me as if I’ve never left the state of Texas in my life. They’re letting me know the world’s bigger than Texas, as if I didn’t know that. That alone will make you pretty rebellious.” The frustration in Crockett’s voice is evident, it’s completely understandable for someone who has lived and experienced more places than he can care to list in our time talking. It’s also surprising, as Crockett comes across well-rounded and considerate, not someone who you think people would be so quick to judge.  


Crockett’s musical and cultural intelligence shines in his work, too, in making the video for ‘Flowers Of The Killer Moon’, Crockett worked with artist Paul Ribera to create a video that is intriguing, unusual and has the general smell of someone who collaborates with people based on talent, not namesake. “We saw some of his work by chance, I think on YouTube,” Crockett tells me, “We were really blown away. I was really amazed by his ability to tell stories visually and that unique style that he has.” Ribera certainly has that, the finger-zoom style of his videos (which are often music videos for country music songs he loves), echoes the deep mystery that Crockett embodies. It feels like a perfect match. “The cool thing about that [visual storytelling] is when somebody makes a visual, we’re talking about cinematic, visual songwriting, it can be really hard to find somebody that can take the written down words in a story and heighten them with the visuals. It’s like how they always say the book is better than the movie, but in the case of Paul, he might’ve one-upped me with his visuals. He might’ve told the story better than I did and I’m real grateful for that.” 


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Media Contact
Hannah Larvin, Editor, Maverick Magazine
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