My Steve Earle collection is surprisingly sporadic. Here I jump forward four albums.
The leap is a fun one though. Unlike the scarily skewed Copperhead Road, this is a complete album that keeps delivering from start to finish.
The opener (Christmas in Washington) is a fantastic slow burn lamenting the loss of genuine lefties from US politics. I’m sure Toby Ziegler would sing along (embarassingly).
The pace picks up for Taneytown, a ‘be careful where you go’ tale – a theme that reappears on the super-catchy Telephone Road, and is twisted the other direction in the inspiring (for travellers) NYC.
Earle seems less constrained by musical conventions here. Rather than being just a country-rock, or acoustic-country or bluegrass effort, this album leaps about with confidence and enthusiasm.
Mandolins fire on some tracks (such as the delightful I Still Carry You Around). Others are much rockier (NYC). Many are humourous. You Know the Rest is a songwriter at complete ease with his abilities.
This is the album I put on to demonstrate than Earle is much more than that Copperhead Road song that I like to butcher. It also showcases how vital and exciting roots music (for want of a better term) can be.
File under: I ♥ this