"Croaky and the bandit."
The mighty Waylon Jennings released some solid gold classics in the ’70s, chief among them 1973’s Honky Tonk Heroes, an album that Steve Earle refers to as the “Exile On Main Street of country music”. There is no higher praise – and that album nearly lives up to it. Earle is out to channel records like this, and Willie Nelson’s classic Shotgun Willie, in a deliberate move into “outlaw country”, a genre that could be succinctly defined as country laced with rock and roll. Willie, Waylon et al were listening to what bands like The Rolling Stones were doing, inspiring them to move away from the homogenised Nashville sound, and strike gold.
Earle is an old hand at this stuff – see his ’80s classics Guitar Town and Copperhead Road – and from the duet with Willie Nelson on the title track, to the Miranda Lambert-featuring ‘This Is How It Ends’, to the plaintive ‘The Girl On A Mountain’, the songwriting and musicianship are great. However, the voice sounds strained at times. ‘Walkin’ In LA’, although a rollicking tune, could use the easy rolling charm Waylon always had, and ‘Fixin To Die’ – a pissed-off honky-tonk band trying to play ‘Helter Skelter’ – belongs on another, lesser album altogether. That said, any LP with telecaster/fiddle/pedal steel toe-tappers like ‘Lookin’ For A Woman’ and ‘If Mama Coulda Seen Me’ is always going to be more than alright by me.
New benefit album marks the New Orleans disasterRead More
The American songwriter returns to Ireland to play on November 11Read More
Legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earle talks about his foray into literature, the impact of ‘Galway Girl’ and his spell behind bars.Read More
Two legendary musicians work together and make one half-decent albumRead More
Alabama 3 and Liam O Maonlai are also on the bill.Read More
It was a night of songs about drugs, guns, murder and love, rendered on acoustic, national steel guitar, decks, mandolin, and “the kind of banjo that scares the sheep in Donegal.”Read More
Veteran American songwriter Steve Earle will be playing here in January.Read More
American singer-songwriter Steve Earle is to play Dublin's Vicar Street in early 2008.Read More
Washington Square Serenade is another substantial chapter in what looks like becoming an epic songbook.Read More
Steve Earle is known for his passionate political views. But never mind standing firm in the face of conservative America. The hardest thing he ever did was follow Christy Moore onstage.Read More
Dundalk’s Spirit Store is one of the leading folk venues in the country. On evidence of its inaugural night, The Tall Poppy Club sees looks set to be the jewel in the crown. Also: Steve Earle and Billy Bragg, old dogs with new tricks.Read More
Watching Steve Earle and The Dukes is like rooting for a nag you know has a shot at the cup if it would only get the lead out. I’ve seen this lot a few times over the last 15 years, and tonight was possibly the closest they’ve come to an all-out tour de force, yet there’s always the sense that they’re holding out on that extra ten per cent.Read More
Veteran agitprop folk-rocker Steve Earle talks to Peter Murphy about kicking against George Dubya, jamming in Galway and revamping Shakespeare for the 21st century.Read More
Earle commands protest chops that go back to Guthrie, but he also has the smarts to examine the allure of war, both as boys’ own glamour and last-ditch career option. Most of the songs study the anatomy of soldiery.Read More
The thirteen tracks herein can be split roughly into two camps - the originals penned quick and recorded even quicker for soundtracks, and the covers dashed off as extra incentives on special edition albums, or just for pig ironRead More
The Magnetic Fields' Stephin (sic) Merritt was of course simply havin' a larf when he wrote those lines but he put his finger on something here all the same.Read More
If this is what a couple of years in the slammer does for you, I'd go behind bars myself. The Mountain makes it three in a row for Steve Earle.Read More