March 5: Steve Earle released I Feel Alright in 1996

“With his new album, I Feel Alright, Texas-raised Earle turns a middle finger to Nashville and screams, ”Chuck it, I’m rockin’ out!” And that he does.”
– Alanna Nash (Entertainment Weekly)

“…like Train a Comin’, I Feel Alright shows Earle finding the courage and confidence to make a record just the way he wants, and this may be Earle’s finest hour in the studio — the production is tough, resonant, and a perfect match for the material, the players bring their A game without showboating, and Earle’s rough but passionate vocals are pure, honest, and direct on every cut.”
– Mark Demming (Allmusic) Continue reading “March 5: Steve Earle released I Feel Alright in 1996”

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:

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February 28: Steve Earle released Train a comin in 1995

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“This ain’t no part of no unplugged nothin — God, I hate MTV”
~Steve Earle (Liner notes)

I got to thinking,…if I don’t make this record now, I won’t get the chance to make it. .. I’m singing the best I’ve sung in years. Mainly [because of] no dope. Heroin relaxes your vocal cords, it lowers the top of your range a little bit, and then when you try to sing over it…
~Steve Earle (to SPIN in 1995)

I wish I’d never come back home
It don’t feel right since I’ve been grown
I can’t find any of my old friends hangin’ ’round
Won’t nothin’ bring you down like your hometown

Wikipedia:

Released February 28, 1995
Genre Folk, country, country rock, bluegrass
Length 40:21
Label Warner Bros.

Train a Comin’ is an acoustic studio album by Steve Earle. The album, Earle’s first in five years, was released in 1995. In addition to Earle, it features Peter Rowan, Norman Blake, Roy Huskey, and Emmylou Harris. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

steve earle 1995

If you see her out tonight
And she tells you it’s just the lights
That bring her here and not her loneliness
That’s what she says but sometimes she forgets

Sometimes She Forgets:

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January 17: Steve Earle was born in 1955

“In a perfect world, Steve Earle would run Nashville.”
– Todd Snider

“If I can get me out of the way, I can do anything”
– Steve Earle

“I don’t really think in terms of obstacles. My biggest obstacle is always myself.”
~Steve Earle

All we do as songwriters is rewrite the songs that have impressed us till we find our own voice. It’s part of learning the craft.
~Steve Earle

One of our  greatest musical heroes

Fort Worth Blues:

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Classic concert: Steve Earle To Hell and Back (1996)

Steve Earle beat the odds, and he knows it. “I was the ultimate functional heroin addict for a number of years,” he says, introducing himself to a MTV audience that might not be intimately familiar with his life story and ferocious brand of country-rock music. “I got clean because I got locked up. If that hadn’t happened, I would have died. I just made my first album straight this year.”

se hell

On June 25, 1996, as part of a court order, Steve Earle performed a live concert for prison inmates at Tennessee’s Cold Creek Correctional Facility where Earle was incarcerated in 1994. The concert entitled To Hell and Back aired on MTV on August 17, 1996. Steve reunited with his backing group the Dukes for the concert, and it was an incredible show.

Earle gives the performance of a lifetime  “This ain’t gonna be a beach party,” he says in front of an appreciative audience of convicts who had just endured two days in a prison-wide lockdown.
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Classic documentary: Heartworn Highways – the best music documentary ever made!

heartworn-highways1

The best music documentary ever made: Heartworn Highways

For it is just that, the best documentary about music I have ever seen! It looks like a home movie, you feel like you get insight into a world long gone and you feel like looking into a world just for the invited.

It is up on YouTube , so catch it before it gets taken down (or better, buy yourself a copy so you can see it as often as you want).

Heartworn Highways is made by James Szalapski whose vision captured some of the founders of the Outlaw Country  and Singer/Songwriter movement in Texas and Tennessee in the last weeks of 1975 and the first weeks of 1976. The film was not released theatrically until 1981.

Highlights for me: The visit to Townes Van Zandt’s caravan and the Christmas party at Guy and Susanna Clark (especially Steve Earle singing Mercenary Song).

Heartworn Highways (full movie):

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