This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
If you missed Rodney Crowell’s 2001 masterpiece The Houston Kid, stop reading right now, head to your favourite CD merchant and buy it. That is, if you can find it — released on an indie label, the disc never garnered the sales it deserved. If there’s any justice, his folowup Fate’s Right Hand will make up for that.
Musically and lyrically, it’s basically a sequel to Kid, with the hickory-throated Nashville icon weighing in with another set of impeccably crafted, unflinchingly personal roots-rock that ponders life’s big questions. The difference this time, though, is that Crowell is living in the moment instead of drawing on the past. The yearning Still Learning How To Fly — inspired by a friend with cancer — is a lesson in seizing the day. Time To Go Inward is a contemplative bit of steel-guitar self-analysis. The honky-tonker Preachin’ To The Choir is a smirking two-step ode to denial. The title cut even finds Rodney wrily rapping (“Redrum dot com dim sum smart bombs”) about a world beyond his understanding. Not that Crowell is trying to go all hip on us — while these cuts keep one foot in the present, their earthy vibes and homespun philosophies never lose touch with Rodney’s country roots. Here’s hoping it’s enough to keep Fate’s Right Hand from suffering the same commercial fate as its predecessor.