February 9, 1998 |
From the start of his recording career, the guitarist and singer Steve Earle set out to sketch the desperation lurking below the surface of ordinary American lives. In the two years since he emerged from drug rehab and a prison term, he has returned to that mission with remarkable zeal, and blossomed into one of rock's most insightful storytellers - a master of detail who makes the most overworked song forms seem newly vital. Saturday at the Theatre of Living Arts, Earle held a capacity crowd captive for more than two hours with tales of dire circumstances and dead-end lives.
December 14, 1988 |
Steve Earle didn't play "Guitar Town" until the end of Monday night's nearly 2 1/2-hour set at the Chestnut Cabaret, but his seven-piece band, the Dukes, brought along enough guitars to equip several generations of Southern rock groups. Caught between the world of country and rock, Earle has opted for the latter, and his live performance crackled with enough firepower to burn down Nashville. Appearances alone could alienate Earle from the mainstream country audience. The Dukes include everything from a "good old boy" in a bolo tie to a skinny cat with a curly halo of rock-star hair; a group photo would most likely suggest an especially raunchy motorcycle gang.
March 18, 1999 |
Wearing a crisp, dark suit and neatly cropped hair, Steve Earle took the stage of the Theatre of Living Arts on Tuesday looking nothing like the scruffy country-rocker fans have come to know. Instead, he fit right in with the members of the bluegrass band who joined him around the lone microphone. If the fresh-scrubbed look seemed foreign, even to Earle - "Usually when I wear something like this they're locking [me] up," he joked, alluding to his past drug problems - it was clear during the thrilling evening that he was meeting bluegrass on his own terms.
July 17, 1987 |
Waylon Jennings and Steve Earle, whose rebellions against the lush, string- laden Nashville sound have brought country music closer to the lean, spare songs of its origin, proved an appropriate pairing Wednesday night at Valley Forge Music Fair. Jennings started country music's "outlaw" movement in 1976 with the album Wanted: The Outlaws, which he recorded with Willie Nelson in Texas. Its platinum status demonstrated to Nashville a need for a more aggressive approach to the music.
May 6, 2013 |
Credited to Steve Earle & the Dukes (& Duchesses), The Low Highway is the first album in 23 years on which Earle has shared billing with his backing ensemble, a measure of his affection for what he called "the best band I've ever had" on the stage of the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville Friday night. That band, featuring husband and wife multi-instrumentalists Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore - who played a brief opening set as the Mastersons - alongside longtime rhythm section Kelley Looney and Will Rigby, lived up to the compliment during a two-and-a-half-hour show that mixed the entirety of The Low Highway with songs from Earle's long and varied career.
July 17, 1987 |
Steve Earle and the Stand will be at the Chestnut Cabaret tomorrow. Earle, a talented songwriter from Texas, is a double threat. Because of songs such as "Nowhere Road" and "Hillbilly Highway," he's been marketed as a country act and placed on tour with Hank Williams Jr. Just two days ago, Earle opened at the Valley Forge Music Fair for Waylon Jennings. Still, as anyone who has his two albums, Guitar Town and Exit 0, can attest, the man can rock. And headlining with his mighty five-piece band, the Dukes (get it?
May 17, 1987 |
Steve Earle's album Guitar Town, an original mixture of country and rock music, was one of last year's finest albums. Earle's new record, Exit O (MCA ), continues where Guitar Town left off, with rough-hewn music and sharply observed sketches of working-class lives. Backed by his five-piece band, the Dukes, Earle's music is even more raucous on this new album - he hasn't turned soft or conservative with commercial success. In fact, it is as if, having earned that success, he is now even more intent upon portraying his own life and the lives of his friends with passion and precision.
June 21, 1991 |
Steve Earle's show at the Theater of Living Arts Wednesday served as a reminder of why country and rock fans were so excited about the singer when he emerged in 1985 with his Guitar Town album. It had been easy to forget. Earle is a wonderful storyteller, and even Copperhead Road and The Hard Way, his most recent albums, have been marked by near-brilliant hillbilly existentialism. But lately, he's given his songs a hard-rock armor and so much macho posturing that nearly all their charm has been lost.
March 20, 1996 |
Steve Earle doesn't hold anything back. It's apparent from the stinging, opening strums on the roots-songwriter's new I Feel Alright (E(2)/Warner Bros.), which brings him to the Theatre of Living Arts tonight. And it has always been that way. On the cover of his landmark 1986 debut, Guitar Town, Earle stood outside a store full of shiny new six-strings that seemed to taunt the lean and hungry troubadour. With a bandana on his wrist and a beat-up acoustic in his hand, he was the brooding outsider who just had to get in. Guitar Town crossed Bruce Springsteen working-class empathy with Hank Williams' tortured hillbilly twang, and its untempered ambition shook Nashville up, big-time.
July 14, 2000 |
Songwriter, poet, label owner, record producer, political activist, fiction writer, recovering heroin addict, and six-time ex-husband who's "supporting half the women in Nashville," Steve Earle has been on a creative roll since checking out of a drug-rehab center in September 1994. On top of the Ron Sexsmith album that the roots-rock troubadour just produced, the laudable work he's done signing Philadelphia rockers Marah to his E-Squared label, and the short-story collection that Houghton Mifflin will publish next year, there's Transcendental Blues, the 15-song collection Earle calls "the best bunch of songs I've written in a long time.