Steve Earle. Singer/Songwriter. Brilliant. National treasure. Believe it.
I was fortunate enough to be working on the west coast this week so I could take in one of my Co's writers, Steve Earle, at UCLA's Royce Hall. It was the last night of his tour in support of his most recent album, Washington Square Serenade; the album won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album this past February and is truly fantastic. A lot of those new songs were played during his 2+ hour set - "City Of Immigrants", "Satellite Radio", "Steve's Hammer"... there were also many deeper tracks like "Billy Austin", "Copperhead Road", "Galway Girl", "Jerusalem".
The highlight came during the encore though. Two songs just blew me away; firstly "The Mountain" (requested by and dedicated to Tom Morello) and "Little Rock 'n' Roller". Steve preceded LRnR by talking about his family's recent loss of their rock, Steve's dad. While this song was written twenty-four years ago for his son Justin Townes Earle, it is now a song for his father. Quite moving I must admit.
Question: Is Steve Earle america's most underrated songwriter?
Answer: I don't know....but I do know he's pretty incredible...and his show last night at Town Hall was really good.
Steve dropped a new album (his thirteenth) this past week,Washington Square Serenade. Many of the songs were mixed into the set, including my favs "Sparkle and Shine" and "Down Here Below". The hard core fans were kept happy classic Earle tunes like "Hard Core Troubador," "Billy Austin," and the optimistic "Jerusalem." Such a fitting song to hear just a few blocks away from where this week's big International visitor caused ripples with his perplexing rhetoric.
Steve's next show is FREE, Oct 6 in San Francisco.