I can still remember where I was the first time I heard Steve Earle’s “Guitar Town” on the radio. It was 1986 and I was heading down Industrial Avenue in Ottawa, Ontario and this song started playing on CKBY 105.3 FM. I had to pull over, as I needed to know who was singing this new kind of country rock sound. As I listened, I was totally loving the tune. When the song finished the radio deejay informed us that, “that was Steve Earle with his new single entitled “Guitar Town” off the Guitar Town album”. I immediately went looking for this new record and found it.
Here is a track list for “Guitar Town”:
1. Guitar Town
2. Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left
3. Hillbilly Highway
4. Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough)
5. My Old Friend The Blues
7. Think It Over
8. Fearless Heart
9. Little Rock ‘N’ Roller
10. Down The Road
I ended up performing 4 of the 10 songs in my band Hickory Wind on a nightly bases, which included Guitar Town, Hillbilly Highway, Someday & Fearless Heart. This album is one of those records where I loved every song on the record and as you know, this doesn’t happen very often when buying music. I must also salute The Dukes who have been Steve’s band for more than 33 years. There have been a few variations of the band but all were extremely talented and gifted musicians, including William Bucky Baxter, Harry Stinson and Eric Roscoe Ambel.
I’ve written many songs since 1986 and just about every one of them have a little Steve Earle influence in them, including a little edge, rock attitude and a sound that is not your everyday country sound from the 70’s/80’s. I still write traditional country songs as well. These were the songs my parents listened to such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline and so many others.
Here is the set list from the very first show Bill and I attended back in 1987:
March 3, 1987 at Barrymore’s Music Hall Set List:
Good Ol’ Boy (Gettin’ Tough)
Angry Young Man
My Old Friend the Blues
Little Rock ‘n’ Roller
Sweet Little ’66
Dead Flowers (The Rolling Stones cover)
The Week of Living Dangerously
Love You Too Much
Down the Road
San Antonio Girl
The Rain Came Down
I Ain’t Ever Satisfied
Johnny Come Lately
Little Sister (Greg Trooper cover)
The boy’s in the The Dukes:
Bucky Baxter – steel guitar, vocals
Richard Bennett – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, six string bass
Harry Stinson – drums, vocals
Reno Kling – bass guitar
Ken Moore – organ, synthesizer, vocals
The band line-up listed above was such an experience to see live and get all the little nuances of the show. The band was on fire. Bill and I had a blast at our first Steve Earle show at Barrymore’s and we’ve seen him many, many times since. Steve Earle and the Dukes continue to push forward and move the meter that is measured.
Steve Earle is one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of his generation. A protege of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, he quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, The Pretenders, and countless others. 1986 saw the release of his debut record, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts. What followed was a varied array of releases including the Grammy Award Winning albums The Revolution Starts…Now (2004), Washington Square Serenade (2007), and TOWNES (2009). A true Renaissance man, Earle has become a novelist, a film, TV, and stage actor, playwright, record producer, and radio host. Earlier this year, he appeared in the off-Broadway play Samara, for which he also wrote the score that The New York Times called “exquisitely subliminal.” 2018 marked the 30th Anniversary of his legendary album Copperhead Road.
Steve Earle Discography:
- Recorded and performed “Johnny Come Lately” with The Pogues.
- Performed a duet with Iris DeMent on “I’m Still In Love With You”.
- Co-wrote the Jason & the Scorchers song “A Bible & A Gun”.
- Sang on Jason Ringenberg‘s re-recording of “A Bible & A Gun” (2002).
- Worked with the Supersuckers, recording their song “Creepy Jackalope Eye” and his song “NYC” (1996).
- Released split single of the Rolling Stones song “Before They Make Me Run” with the Supersuckers (1997).
- Sang backup vocals and played the harmonica on the Indigo Girls song “Shame on You“, on their album Shaming of the Sun (1997).
- Recorded “The Galway Girl” and “Dominick Street” with Sharon Shannon and The Woodchoppers.
- Recorded covers of Alejandro Escovedo‘s “Paradise” and Warren Zevon‘s “Reconsider Me” with Reckless Kelly, for Escovedo and Zevon tribute albums.
- Collaborated with the Del McCoury Band on The Mountain (1999).
- Performed a duet with Lucinda Williams on “You’re Still Standin’ There”.
- Performed a duet with Chris Hillman on “High Fashion Queen” for the Gram Parsons tribute album Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons.
- Performed a duet with Siobhan Maher Kennedy on “Poison Lovers”.
- Performed a duet with Emmylou Harris on “Comin’ Around”, “Goodbye”, and “I Remember You”.
- Performed a duet with Stacey Earle on “When I Fall”.
- Played guitar and sang backup on Emmylou Harris’s version of “Goodbye” (from her Wrecking Ball album.)
- Co-wrote “Go Amanda” with Sheryl Crow (on Jerusalem).
- Sang with Sheryl Crow on his cover of “Time Has Come Today” on Sidetracks.
- Covered the Son Volt classic “Windfall”
- Played banjo on Patti Smith‘s cover of Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit“.
- Produces and collaborates on Joan Baez’s album Day After Tomorrow.
- Performed a duet with Jill Sobule on her song “Love is Never Equal”
- Covered NRBQ‘s “A Girl Like That” on the NRBQ tribute album The Q People (2004).
- Performed with Allison Moorer on the song “After The Fire Is Gone” from Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn (2010).
- Recorded a record as a duet with Shawn Colvin simply titled Colvin and Earle.(2017)
I’ve been to some 45 or so shows through the last 33 years with my good friend Bill. The first show we went to was on March 3, 1987 at Barrymore’s Music Hall in Ottawa, Ontario. What a band Steve had for this tour. I know he always has a good band but these guy’s were just wow to watch and listen to.
Steve Earle & The Dukes Pics
Here are some of my favourite Steve Earle songs:
Nowhere Road (Exit 0)
Sweet Little 66’ (Exit 0)
Angry Young Man (Exit 0)
I Aint Ever Satisfied (Exit 0)
Copperhead Road (Copperhead Road)
Back To The Wall (Copperhead Road)
The Devil’s Right Hand (Copperhead Road)
Johnny Come Lately (Copperhead Road)
The Other Kind (The Hard Way)
This Highways Mine (Roadmaster) (The Hard Way)
Billy Austin (The Hard Way)
Justice In Ontario (The Hard Way)
Regular Guy (The Hard Way)
Feel Alright (I Feel Alright)
Poor Boy (I Feel Alright)
The Unrepentant (I Feel Alright)
Tanneytown (El Corazon)
I Still Carry You Around (El Corazon)
Telephone Road (El Corazon)
N.Y.C. (El Corazon)
Here I Am (El Corazon)
Feel Alright (El Corazon)
The Revolution Starts Now
And many more…..