Texan Cowboy Charley Crockett on Mezcal and Music

“I used to drink whisky bourbon, but I liked it too much. Turns out I am allergic and break out in handcuffs, so I switched to Mezcal,” says country and western singer Charley Crockett who prefers his spirit of choice on the rocks with no added sugar.

The Texan cowboy returns to Australia for his second tour, bringing his classic country to the stage with his band The Blue Drifters, and perhaps in the hope to find himself some quality “Mezcal ranch water” in between those shimmering shows.

Born in San Benito, Texas and raised in a trailer park, it’s Crockett’s vagabond travelling ways that helped him truly find home – he spent years on the road between Texas, New Orleans and New York City – busking and finding comfort in singing songs.

Known for his country classics that he serves with a double shot of Americana, it’s Crockett’s swagger that’s hard to match this side of nostalgia street. In turn he’s become more than a musician to watch; he is the real deal.

Crockett’s 2022 album The Man from Waco [his fifth career release] is the reason he got to our shores in the first place. Music is a way of life and storytelling fits into that repertoire too.

“I do music for two reasons,” says Charley Crockett.

“For me and mine – it’s by blood and by choice. And I do it for the people who listen to me. Life happens quick – and we don’t know how long we’re going to be around,” he says.

“The only thing I got is the honesty of the storytelling in my music, and the privilege of people trusting me with my truth. That’s when I am in my truest power – when I have artistic autonomy to do what I do – it comes naturally,” he says.

His latest release is a live recording with his band The Blue Drifters. Live At The Ryman highlights Crockett’s powerful knack for storytelling and the magic that happens when he is on stage with his band – there’s a raw blues glimmer of hope that takes hold.

Crockett turns to a Bob Marley quote for genuine reflection . And for a guy who played music on the streets in the French Quarter of New Orleans as a teenager, and later hitch hiked and rode freight trains to get to New York where he busked his way around the city, he certainly knows the rough road of doing both.

“A man who had an indescribable impact on me would be in my life is Bob Marley and when he said “if you’re not living good, travel wide”,” says Crockett.

“I have gotten a lot of the good luck that has come to me through my struggle, and I got that from standing out there on street corners. I definitely picked up a lot songs in a river of whiskey on Bourbon Street and I would never trade that,” he says.

“But if you stand out long enough, the spirits will come and get you. That’s when you have to listen to those spirits tapping on your shoulders. Sometimes they’re telling you it’s time to go, and when they tell me that, I know I have to get to the mountains or the desert and that has worked for me each and every time,” says Crockett.

He has a new album coming in April titled $10 Cowboy – penned while visiting truck stops, casinos and behind alleyways at live music venues. But Crockett also says he wakes up in the middle of the night when a phrase or a melody comes to him in his sleep to capture a song.

“I live for the song. I wake up in the middle of the night with songs in my mind,” he says.

“I run out into the living room and record them when they come to me like this.  I usually pick up a guitar and start writing cos that’s the best thing I’ll do all day,” he adds.

From hearing the songs of Woody Guthrie on a cassette tape played by his mother when he was a child, to being raised in the 90s listening to radio hits – Crockett knew early on his heart and soul belonged in an era from the past.

“I was born in the 80s and raised in the 90s and at least half of my musical education came from hip-hop music, the DIY style that was coming out of Texas and outside of the mainstream music industry – it was rebellious,” says Crockett.

“And then there were the Texas icons – Selena from South Texas, Chris Kristofferson born five minutes from where I was born, ZZ Top and Willie Nelson and American guitarist Freddie King the great bluesman: he says.

“We had these Texas home town heroes who came from a regional outpost with an mythical feel about them and all from a much misunderstood culture. I was drawn to their style and was good at telling stories from memory. This was where I found my home,” he says.

The 39-year-old singer who engaged his long-term girlfriend Taylor Day Grace after three years of dating, recalls meeting her at The White Horse Saloon.

“We actually first met in a different club in Austin, Texas,” he says. “She was working for a friend of ours Jamie Wyatt and he was a bunch of shows with us. One night we were at Antone’s on 5th Street and I saw her there. Then I was lucky enough to walk into The White Horse Salon and she was in there again. She told me she had a song she wanted to show me. I stepped out and we never went back into the venue. It was my lucky night.”


Skylark Lounge, Austin Texas

An East Austin jazz and blues bar for tunes from local musicians that’s dimly lit, filled with a red hue glow of dive bar repute, and feels very Tarantino movie set as you walk in. What’s not to love? Charley recommends you pull up a bar stool or find yourself a booth and kick back for a deep night of groove and perhaps get a Mezcal poured neat.


Riley’s Tavern

Another live music venue that’s a must to drop into according to Crockett. Off the beaten track, a rebellious home for music lovers and those keen to get their kicks on country and the blues. Wanna go old school?  Why not rent a cottage behind the Tavern. Check out their merch page too for a vintage throwback.




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