Charley Crockett (born March 24, 1984) is an American blues, country, and Americana singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He has released ten albums since 2015, with Lil G.L.'s Blue Bonanza peaking at number 11 on the US Billboard Blues Albums chart. In 2020, Crockett released a mixtape containing low-fidelity recordings titled Field Recordings, Vol. 1 and the studio album Welcome to Hard Times. In 2021, Crockett released two albums, 10 for Slim: Charley Crockett Sings James Hand (a tribute album to James "Slim" Hand) and Music City USA. His tenth studio album, Lil G.L. Presents: Jukebox Charley, was released April 22, 2022. Crockett released his second album of 2022, The Man From Waco, on September 9.
A distant relative of Davy Crockett, Charley was born in San Benito, Texas, United States. The son of a single mother with an older brother and sister, Crockett was raised in a trailer park in Los Fresnos, Texas. His mother relocated the family to Dallas, and Crockett spent the summer months with his uncle, who lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Upon leaving high school at the age of 17, Crockett decided to travel with his guitar acquired by his mother from a pawn shop. Crockett noted "I taught myself how to play and started to write songs immediately, without any chord knowledge or anything. I didn't know what key I was in for 12 years, but my ear was really good, and I could play in any key and any chord. I just didn't know what it was." His early musical influences came from hearing hip hop, and he became fascinated with the samples used. Crockett said, "I got into Curtis Mayfield through samples of his songs by other artists, and Nina Simone was through a sample. Even J. Cole, I was listening to a song of his ("Kenny Lofton"), and it was based on the sample from the Manhattans version of 'Hurt'".
Crockett played music on the streets in the French Quarter of New Orleans and in Deep Ellum, Dallas as a teenager. Later he traveled further afield by hitchhiking and riding freight, and by 2009 he was busking in New York City. As he improved his performance skills, Crockett organized a street band called the Trainrobbers, which caught the attention of a Manhattan-based representative for Sony Music. She signed the 26-year-old Crockett to a two-year management contract, although he rejected a publishing deal. Eventually tired of life on the streets and the pending expiration of the contract, Crockett relocated to Northern California, where he combined working on farms and communes with performing for three more years. Crockett then existed on the streets in Paris, France, for a year, and briefly lived in Spain and Morocco. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.