Daily Archives: February 17, 2010

273. Steve Earle – “Side Tracks”

As I keep confessing, when pressed (it doesn’t take much) to belt out a karaoke tune, I often opt for Steve Earle’s tale of John Lee Pettimore.

On this album we get a sense of Earle’s preferences when in such a position. This is a collection of curios from his career, many of which are covers.

Earle has unsurprisingly eclectic tastes, which ditties here from The Flying Burrito Brothers, Nirvana, and our recent reviewee Bob Dylan.

He also is prepared to tackle the reggae genre (not particularly successfully), and also embrace very mainstream country.

Steve also some slightly cooler crooning buddies than most of us. He shares a mic here with cycling’s former First Lady (Sheryl Crow), and You Am I soundalikes, The Supersuckers.

As my description perhaps gets across, there are many elements that make this release pretty disjointed and throwaway. The saving grace is Earle’s enthusiasm, his love of performing, and his ability to not tread across into the (large) embarrassing uncle area of the karaoke stage. 

This is far from an essential Earle effort (there are a few more of his CDs that I suspect are, and which I do not (yet) own). 

File under: You don’t win friends with side-salad