Editor's note: This show is sold out.

Editor's note: This show is sold out.

The Chinaberry tree was, for a time, a popular, low-budget tree used for ornamental purposes, most often in the southern United States.

Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell recalled how the trees lined the housing development in the Houston neighborhood in which he grew up - a significant enough memory that he named his new book, a memoir of sorts, Chinaberry Sidewalks.

"The book is not at all about Rodney Crowell the songwriter," he said. "It's about my childhood growing up in Houston.

"It's mostly about the arc of my parents' marriage," he said. "My mother and father were the son and daughter of sharecroppers, with seventh/eighth grade educations. They migrated to Houston, and lived in a housing development where a lot of that workforce lived. The place was landscaped with Chinaberry trees, which had these green berries. As kids, we used to have Chinaberry wars."

Crowell said he was deliberate in moving the content of the book away from his career as a singer and songwriter - a career that has seen him boast hit records and have his songs recorded by countless artists, including Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, Crystal Gayle, Heart, Keith Urban, Bob Seger, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tim McGraw and more.

The book, he said, is not merely a companion piece to his records for fans.

"There are stories (in the book) about music, but only as it applies as part of my environment," Crowell added, explaining that he didn't feel a book of stories about his career "was going to garner a readership."

"I don't want to sound insulting to the loyalty of my fans, but I don't think of myself as an iconic star," Crowell said. "I was going to sustain a relationship with readers with my ability to tell stories.

Crowell is hardly shelving his songwriting career. In fact, he said that working on the book both sharpened his songwriting senses and changed his understanding of songwriting.

"With the book I discovered I couldn't slack off," he said, further explaining that "the narrative has to be maintained.

"That kind of day-in-day-out work is a sharp thing for a songwriter to do, to maintain."

His one-man tour is not your standard book tour, either.

"I read excerpts from the book, I tell stories, I sing songs," he said. "It was a lot of work on presentation and pacing."

Crowell did the audio version of the book himself, which gave him the opportunity to hear how stories and segments of stories sounded out loud.

Additionally, he was able to make notes on how he would present the excerpts, both finding a balance between serious and humorous selections and also how he would weave the elements together into a live show.

"I have to kind of free-form a background of a story into the different segments of the book," he said. "Then those passages had to be extended so that the audience is given a similar taste of each song."

For more from The Beat's interview with Rodney Crowell, read the BeatBlog.