Rodney Crowell 

Plenty of songwriters claim Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark as influences, but Rodney Crowell went a step further by befriending them and marrying the daughter of one of country music's chief influences: Johnny Cash. Crowell and Rosanne Cash were a hit-making partnership throughout the '80s, while Crowell was also penning chartbusters for Bob Seger and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Since the couple's 1991 divorce, the Houston Kid has largely summoned his own voice, spinning autobiographical yarns for the alt-country and mainstream camps. He even had cajones enough to rewrite the melody of Cash's "I Walk the Line" — and convince the Man in Black to sing his version of the venerated jukebox classic.

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