Before James Hand passed away in June 2020, Charley Crockett made a promise to his friend that he would record his songs. While he had hoped to do it before Hand’s unexpected death, Crockett fulfills his promise with his new album Lil’ G.L. Presents: 10 For Slim – Charley Crockett Sings James Hand.
Willie Nelson called Hand “the real deal,” and those in the know recognize Hand as one of the best country artists to come out of the great state of Texas. As Crockett says “if you listen to his writing style and the portraits he painted in his music, or that plaintive one of a kind voice he had, then you know he was without equal in our time.” Crockett had planned to bring Hand out on the road as an opening act in 2020, before the pandemic derailed live music.
10 For Slim is Crockett’s ninth full-length album release in the past six years, and he has plans to release a 10th later this year. 2021 will be the third time in the last four years that Crockett has released two albums in the same year. Crockett’s already released new music this year, with his cover of Billy Swan’s 1974 hit I Can Help rocketing up the Americana and Triple A radio charts and receiving key playlist adds at Spotify, Apple Music and others. Rolling Stone says Crockett’s take “captures a man and his band in soulful form.”
Crockett had a stellar year in 2020. He released two albums, increased his Spotify streams by 250% (up to 26.5 million in 2020, with his overall streams across all streaming services over 40.5 million for the year), reached the top 5 on both the Americana radio albums and singles charts, and won raves from NPR Music, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Texas Monthly, Longreads, CMT, Flaunt, Garden & Gun and many others.
Prior to the pandemic, Crockett was selling out shows coast-to-coast in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, and made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 2019. His success is especially impressive when you consider he spent a decade busking on the streets in New Orleans and New York City and is less than two years removed from life-saving open-heart surgery.
10 For Slim was recorded at Fort Horton Studios in Wyldwood, TX, and produced by Billy Horton. The final song on the album is Slim’s Lament, a new Hand song that he had actually recorded on his phone and sent to Crockett a week before his passing. “He was still getting better right up to the end,” says Crockett. “I swear the man was in the room when we were cutting his songs out at Billy’s place in Wyldwood. I didn’t get a chance to tell him what he meant to me or take that tour around America with him so I damn sure was gonna keep my promise to record his songs.”
Watch the video for “Lesson in Depression” here