Steve Earle & Rodney Crowell: ‘Stay All Night’ in Outlaw Country Fashion

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Tony Maples Photography


Originally written by Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan, the song “Stay All Night” was recorded by Wills and the Texas Playboys in 1945. Since then, it’s been accepted the world over as one of those timely touchstones of country music. It’s been covered and re-recorded by such industry notables as Willie Nelson and Mel Tillis, but in the video below, it’s set in the confines of a casual kitchen session between Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell.

The video, shared on YouTube, is captioned, “Christmas Eve 1975 at Guy and Susanna’s Place,” and is featured in the documentary film by James Szalapski entitled “Heartworn Highways.” The film covers singer-songwriters playing more traditional early folk and country music, as opposed to those of the traditional style of their prior generation. Some of those featured include Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, David Allan Coe, and The Charlie Daniels Band. The video below captures the first known recordings of Earle and Crowell, both of whom are now Grammy award winners.

Video: YouTube/Barbara Field

The video above was posted in 2013 and has been viewed by more than 1.2 million. Steve Earle was originally born in Virginia, however, his family moved to Texas before he was two years old, and he was raised for the most part in the San Antonio area. At the age of 14, he ran away from home in search of his musical idol Townes Van Zandt.

Rodney Crowell was born in Houston, Texas, in 1950, to a family of great musical talent. One of his grandfathers was a church choir leader, while the other was a bluegrass banjo player. His grandma also played guitar and his dad often did some semi-professional singing in Houston honky-tonks and bars. By the age of 11, Crowell was playing drums in his dad’s band, and throughout his teenage years, he played in a number of bands in the Bayou City, performing current cover hits and some country songs.

The “Heartworn Highways” film captures a portion of the outlaw country movement that was forming its own roots in Texas and Tennessee throughout the last part of 1975 and the beginnings of 1976. Earle and Crowell manage to play and sing as anyone with their talent generally would back in the day, sitting around a kitchen table, surrounded by either family or friends, simply having a good time. It gives listeners a glimpse of the spirit that drove the movement in the first place and an understanding of why it was so appealing to its audience.