March 5: Steve Earle released Guitar Town in 1986

steve earle guitar town

The first two things I wrote were Guitar Town and Down the Road, because I was looking for an opening and an ending.  So I wrote ’em like bookends, and then filled in the spaces in the middle.  And the album’s kind of about me.  It’s kind of personal.
~Steve Earle (to Alanna Nash – May 1986)

Guitar Town was his first shot at showing a major audience what he could do, and he hit a bull’s-eye — it’s perhaps the strongest and most confident debut album any country act released in the 1980s.
~Mark Deming (allmusic)

Guitar Town:


Released March 5, 1986
Recorded Sound Stage Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Country rock, Americana, Texas Country, heartland rock, rockabilly
Length 34:35
Label MCA
Producer Emory Gordy, Jr., Tony Brown
Associate Producer: Richard Bennett

Guitar Town is the debut album from singer-songwriter Steve Earle, released on March 5, 1986. It topped the Billboard country album charts, and the title song reached #7 on the country singles charts. Earle was also nominated for two 1987 Grammy Awards, Best Male Country Vocalist and Best Country Song, for the title track.

steve earle guitar town


Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left on Austin City Limits September 12 1986:

The album was recorded in late 1985 and early 1986 in Nashville, Tennessee, at Sound Stage Studio. Overdubs were later recorded at Nashville’s Emerald Studios. It was one of the first country music albums to be recorded digitally, utilizing the state-of-the-art Mitsubishi X-800. Each of the album’s ten tracks was either written or co-written by Earle.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 489 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2012, the album ranked at #482 on a revised list. In 2006, it ranked 27th on CMT’s 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music.

steve earle guitar town 2

Someday, album version (w/lyrics):

Track listing:

All songs written by Steve Earle unless otherwise noted

  1. “Guitar Town” – 2:33
  2. “Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left” – 3:16
  3. “Hillbilly Highway” (Earle, Jimbeau Hinson) – 3:36
  4. “Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough)” (Earle, Richard Bennett) – 3:58
  5. “My Old Friend the Blues” – 3:07
  6. “Someday” – 3:46
  7. “Think It Over” (Bennett, Earle) – 2:13
  8. “Fearless Heart” – 4:04
  9. “Little Rock ‘n’ Roller” – 4:49
  10. “Down the Road” (Tony Brown, Earle, Hinson) – 2:37

My Old Friend The Blues – Live 1987:


  • Steve Earle – guitar, vocals

The Dukes

  • Bucky Baxter – pedal steel guitar
  • Richard Bennett – guitars, 6-string bass, slap bass, associate producer
  • Ken Moore – organ, synthesizer, keyboards on “State Trooper”
  • Emory Gordy, Jr. – bass, mandolin, producer
  • Harry Stinson – drums, vocals

Additional musicians

  • Paul Franklin – pedal steel guitar on “Fearless Heart” and “Someday”
  • John Jarvis – synthesizer, piano
  • Steve Nathan – synthesizer

From Spotify:

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