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The Long Ride of Charley CrockettWatching Charley Crockett connect dots can be dizzying, especially when they represent moments in his highly unlikely life story. Case in point: last September I met up with him and his girlfriend, Taylor Grace, at Manhattan’s ritzy Park Lane hotel, in their thirty-sixth-floor suite overlooking Central Park. It was a Monday afternoon, and Charley—a 38-year-old singer-songwriter whose singular blend of country, blues, Southern soul, Tex-Mex, and old Storyville styles has made him one of the hottest independent acts in American music—was in the city on big business, to take meetings with major record labels and heavyweight manager candidates but also to open a sold-out Willie Nelson show the next night. As we looked out the window at the park, I searched for the SummerStage area…

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