“I woke up this mornin’ and none of the news was good And death machines were rumblin’ ‘cross the ground where Jesus stood And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way And there was nothin’ anyone could do or say
And I almost listened to him Yeah, I almost lost my mind Then I regained my senses again And looked into my heart to find
That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem” – Steve Earle (Jerusalem)
Steve Earle released this “protest album” post 9/11, but contrary to widespread belief it is not a concept album about the tragic events on that date. Yes, there are some songs relating to it, but only three out of eleven (maybe four). There were som controversy when it came out, especially the song John Walker’s Blues were widely discussed and often slated in right wing media. It is not a song that takes sides, it is a song that tells us that an ordinary American kid fell in with the wrong crowd (in this case, the Taliban). Earle make us look at this boy, and he does not say that he is innocent, but he says that he should be treated like a human being despite his faults and despite his guilt. It is a fantastic song.
“…Earle has crafted a vision of America thrown into chaos, where the falling of the World Trade Center towers is just another symbol of a larger malaise which surrounds us. Before its release,Jerusalem already generated no small controversy over the song “John Walker’s Blues,” which tells the tale of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh as seen through his own eyes. While “John Walker’s Blues” is no more an endorsement of Lindh’s actions than Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” was a tribute to mass-murderer Charles Starkweather, even though it’s one of the album’s strongest songs, if anything, it doesn’t go quite far enough.”
– Mark Demming (allmusic.com)
Steve Earle made a “state of the nation” album, and he is confused and he doesn’t come up with the answers, but he asks the important questions!
When my favorite Norwegian music magazine – BEAT – died for the 5th time back in 1997, the journalists were asked to create a playlist (or rather a C60 tape back then) containing the best music ever.. in their opinion. The time limit was 60min (C60 tape).
Some of the lists are really great and I will share them in a series of posts.
“Hell, everybody’s sick of all my fucking happy songs anyway”
– Steve Earle
Terraplane is the sixteenth studio album by Steve Earle. It was released on February 17, 2015 via New West Records. Terraplane – the title is a nod to Robert Johnson’s “Terraplane Blues” (and from the 1930s Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit model) and it is Earle’s blues album. This is something he does with honor, and it’s a hell of an album, no matter what genre.
Steve Earle and The Dukes – King of the Blues /Hey Joe (House of Rock, Corpus Christi, TX on 5/10/2015):
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.”
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.
Steve Earle performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded February 20, 2015.
I saw Steve Earle with The Mastersons/Dukes last week, it is the best concert I’ve seen all year (I’ve seen 56 shows this year, Steve Earle’s concert was number 55). I have experienced Steve Earle several times on stage, but I’ve never seen him better.
We have dug up a performance from KEPX aired in February right after his lates album was released.
He’s talking about life, music and the blues in particular.
Here’s a wonderful performance:
Ain’t Nobody’s Daddy Now
You’re The Best Lover That I’ve Ever Had
King Of The Blues