My First Listen: Steve Earle’s New Album
The gods must have been crazy or perhaps it was just an April Fool’s joke, but when I got home from the beach with my dog this afternoon, an old friend was sitting in a car in front of my house waiting for me with an advance copy of the Steve Earle release.
I know what we would have done in the old days, but I don’t do that stuff anymore, so we just sat down and listened. Not into writing a review…I’ll leave it for the ones who enjoy that sort of thing. But I jotted some notes as I listened to each song and I’ll throw them up here for those who are interested.
Street date is April 26, and his novel of the same name comes out a few weeks later. In the liner notes Earle writes: “They are all, as far as I can tell, about mortality in one way or the other; death as a mystery rather than a punctuation mark or at least, a comma rather than a period,”
Waitin’ On The Sky: For the first few seconds I thought this was a T-Bone out take left over from his Fogerty sessions. A great country flavored rock tune that could have easily made it onto Willie and The Poor Boys or the Blue Ridge Rangers.
Little Emperor: A bit of swamp rock with a fiddle and mandolin riff throughout.
The Gulf of Mexico: A cajun-celtic tale of life before the spill, as if it had occurred a few hundred years ago.
Molly-O: Starts with some banjo and fiddle. Clog dancing in the streets of Dublin?
God is God: You’ll recognize this great song from the Joan Baez album that Earle produced. First song that sounds like a T-Bone production with the heavy drum beat he seems to like. Steve does it like a straight folk song with some drone sounds that reminds me of the old Danelectro electric sitar.
Meet Me In The Alleyway: Blues song with harp and he’s got that digitized voice thing he uses from time to time. Really a lot of harp here with swampy bass and a hint of twang.
Every Part Of Me: Starts with an acoustic riff that sounds familiar in that style of his you’ll recognize right off. This is a beautiful love song. A stand out track…wonder whose singing in the background?
Lonely Are The Free: More familiar acoustic sound and vocal…this is Steve the way you dream of hearing him. Another killer song and great production with a touch of steel.
Heaven Or Hell: Is that the wife he’s singing with? Probably. Reminds me of something Buddy and Julie might try. More steel.
I Am A Wanderer: Another track from that Baez album with very different instrumentation. This one is pedal steel heaven. Female vocal comes in toward the end.
This City: The track from Treme…”this city won’t wash away, this city won’t ever drown.” Throw me some beads.
th-th-th-thats all folks….well not quite. here’s a recent video i found from last month: