Charley Crockett, Stephen Wilson Jr. and Drayton Farley Share a Night of Music and Connection

An excited crowd of country music festival-goers and Palm Springs locals looked on at the intimate stage as Charley Crockett started off the night by asserting a truth that any songwriter knows;  “It’s easy to start a song. It’s a lot harder to finish one”. Stephen Wilson Jr. and Drayton Farley nodded in agreement alongside him. Rolling Stone’s Senior Editor Joseph Hudak had kicked off the night by asking the three groundbreaking country music artists their songwriting process in the latest installment of the ‘Rolling Stone Writers’ Room’, presented by George Dickel. 

The three artists have paved their own path in the genre of country music by firmly planting their roots in their own sensibilities and the night brought them all together to delve deep into their process and hear their own way of storytelling through their music. 

Photo Credit: Dina Douglass

Dina Douglass

Crockett’s prolific place in Americana country has been cemented by his incredible work ethic as a singer-songwriter, releasing nine records in five years. In many interviews, Crockett has talked about how much being on the road inspires his music, but his struggles with living on the street and busking made him the artist he is today;  “When I was playing out on these street corners, I learned how to play in front of people…I’m proud of that and they can’t take it away from me”.

Performing his song ‘Dream Come True’ for the first time at the Writers’ Room, Drayton Farley fully committed to music after years of working on a factory line to support his family. Taking the leap to pursue his art full time was one of the hardest decisions he’s ever made; “I jumped out of an airplane with my family strapped to my back, and I wasn’t sure if there was a parachute”. But it paid off. “My dream was to do what I’m doing today”. The soulful Alabama native also performed ‘Pitchin’ Fits’ and ‘Dreamer’.  

As for Stephen Wilson Jr., the self-proclaimed “recovering microbiologist” Indiana native quit his job as a scientist and chased his dream of becoming a musician even amidst the grief of losing his father. The grunge-country artist performed ‘Cuckoo’ first, captivating the crowd with his gritty vocals and nostalgic rhythm. After a series of dry-witted introductions that rang laughter amidst the crowd, his songs ‘The Devil’ and ‘1994’ enlivened the Palm Springs venue as well as his stagemates. 

(L) Musician Vincent Neil Emerson with his wife Tori, (R) Cale Tyson with Drayton Farley
Photo Credit: Derek Oxford

As the exhilarated crowd toasted, laughed and cheered along with each artist, Joseph Hudak reminded everyone of the importance of songwriting itself. All three acts agreed – some songs take months, even years out of you, and some take less than an hour. “I always write my lyrics first, the music comes later,” said Wilson Jr. 


Crockett surprised the crowd by revealing “I don’t write my lyrics down. It’s all in my head, so I’ve got to play it over and over to get it down”. Performing ‘Game I Can’t Win’ and ‘One Trick Pony’, his latest album ‘$10 Cowboy’ was released a few hours after his Writers’ Room performance. The audience were lucky enough to hear the titular album’s song a day ahead of his Stagecoach performance.

Christian Lopez with his wife, actress Skyler Shaye
Photo Credit: Dina Douglass

Dina Douglass

George Dickel is a historic, 160-year-old whisky brand revitalized by its innovative General Manager and Distiller, Nicole Austin. Based outside of Nashville at Cascade Hollow, their award-winning eight-year Dickel Bourbon is a testament to successfully combining the best of whisky tradition with new and innovative techniques.

By creating new ways to enjoy bourbon, rye and more, Dickel roams tradition with a new edge, and pays homage while pushing the craft to create beautiful whisky. Much like these artists, it’s confident, authentic and unwavering in the product that they create. 

Photo Credit: Dina Douglass

Dina Douglass

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