Marie she didn’t wake up this morning She didn’t even try She just rolled over and went to Heaven My little boy safe inside
Townes Van Zandt’s Marie from his album, No Deeper Blue
Marie is one of the most harrowing but touching songs ever written; if you’re not affected in some way by this tune upon hearing it, then you have no soul! I’m kind of joking (but not much…)
No other songwriter brings out emotions the way Townes do, and that’s why his songs stand the test of time. It is a late career masterpiece. Townes Van Zandt said the song was inspired by Meryl Streep’s character in the film Ironweed and describes the harrowing plight of a homeless couple who wind up living under a bridge until the woman dies with the protagonist’s unborn child “safe inside her.” Townes Van Zandt performed the song years before he recorded it.
Stephen Fain Earle (born January 17, 1955) is an American rock, country and folk singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982.
Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)
Can you tell me where we’re headin’?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?
Seems like I been down this way before
Is there any truth in that, señor?
This album sort of wrote itself. It was bigger than me and faster than me and so it took me awhile to get a handle on what it was about. Basically, it comes down to stuff I care about. That’s where the title comes from.
-Steve Earle (steveearle.net)
.. the album kicks off with a tremendous one-two punch, the rousing acoustic ballad “Christmas in Washington” and “Taneytown,” a harrowing story of race and violence backed with gale-force electric guitars. El Corazón is also a good bit more eclectic than much of Earle’s previous work, dipping into bluegrass (“You Know the Rest,” featuring backing from the Del McCoury Band), old-school country (“The Other Side of Town”), hard rock (“N.Y.C.,” co-starring the Supersuckers, and “Here I Am”), and vintage R&B (“Telephone Road”). As its title suggests, El Corazón often deals with matters of the heart, expressed with particular eloquence on “Poison Lovers” and “If You Fall,” though the song’s most emotionally resonant moment comes with its closing song, “Ft. Worth Blues,” a moving farewell to Earle’s longtime friend and mentor Townes Van Zandt.
-Mark Deming (allmusic.com)
Great album, one of Earle’s best!
It’s a mix of country, folk, rock, soul, pain, redemption and politics. What a magnificent brew it is ! Truly remarkable.
Taneytown (live, Sidney, 2013):
This song, which is graced with Emmylou Harris singing backup, is told from the point of view of a 22 year old retarded black man. I also wrote it in the form of a short story that will be in my book. Taneytown is a real place – you can see it on maps of The Battle Of Gettysburg – but it (the story) could reallytake place anywhere racism exists. I took a risk writing the story and a risk doing this song and I don’t claim to have it well…. But just taking the chance made it worthwhile for me.
-Steve Earle (steveearle.net)
“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!
“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”→