This Covent Garden performance has transferred to video and DVD remarkably successfully, partly because the singing and acting of the principals is so good, but chiefly because conductor Georg Solti finds an excellent balance between sharp characterisation and sumptuous romance; between wit and mischief on the one hand and profound feelings on the other. Though sensitive to its beauties, Solti keeps the music moving along, never becoming sloppy or over-indulgent.
Steve Earle has been creating intimate and personal music for well over four decades now. His songwriting has wound itself along a path from Texas to Tennessee and his education came in the form of learning from the best. 2009’s Grammy-nominated record TOWNES was a tribute to his dear friend and mentor, Townes Van Zandt. Ten years later Earle released, GUY - an album concentrated on paying homage to the late Guy Clark and the indelible friendship that they had formed in stories told through song. 2022 welcomes the release of JERRY JEFF: a 10-song collection of songs written by the gypsy songman, Jerry Jeff Walker. Featuring hits like, “Mr Bojangles” and “Gettin’ By”, Earle & The Dukes honor the late Texan by amplifying the concept and sound of each song with a full-band recording.
On this 1986 debut, Steve Earle burst on the scene as a fully formed songwriting master, synthesizing effortlessly the finest parts of country-folk troubadours like Townes Van Zandt and the anthemic, working-class rock of Bruce Springsteen. "Someday," a country-rock masterpiece about a kid stuck pumping gas in a dead-end town, remains the perfect realization of this style, and with the exception of the slight and silly "Little Rock 'N' Roller," most everything else here (especially "Hillbilly Highway" and the heartbreaking ballad "My Old Friend the Blues") comes awfully close. The 2002 reissue, overseen by Earle and original producer Tony Brown, offers fresh remastering, new liner notes by Earle, and a bonus live version of Springsteen's "State Trooper."
"Hell, everybody's sick of all my f–-ing happy songs anyway," Steve Earle declares in the liner notes to his 2015 album Terraplane as he explains why he chose to cut a blues album. If you feel like you somehow missed Earle's Pollyanna period, you're not the only one, but if he was motivated to turn to the blues because of personal troubles – he was going through his seventh divorce while he wrote and recorded these songs – it sure sounds like he chose the right kind of musical therapy. Terraplane is the most relaxed and least fussed-over album Earle has made in quite some time, and frankly, he sounds like he's having a ball on these sessions; with rare exceptions, this isn't music that ponders the dark night of the soul, but semi-acoustic roadhouse boogie that rocks with a steady roll and gives Earle a chance to crow like a rooster as he ponders broken hearts, long lonesome highways, battles with the forces of destiny, and the enduring appeal of women in go-go boots.