Because Songs Matter


Admittedly, I’m not really a fan of Steve Earle, outside of his role as Waylon, Bubble’s N.A. sponsor, on the greatest television series ever, The Wire. So when Steve Earle’s newest album, Townes, arrived in my inbox I wasn’t expecting too much.

Townes is a tribute album to one of Steve’s greatest musical inspirations, Townes Van Zandt. There will be plenty of other far more knowledgeable publications writing about this album in the coming days/weeks, so I’ll leave the stories to them. I wanted to write about this album only to tell you that I am not a Steve Earle fan at all and I love it. The reverence that Steve brings to the songs is palpable. You’d almost have to be dead not to like this album.

Check it out.

Steve Earle - Poncho and Lefty     

Steve Earle - Lungs     

Steve Earle - Marie     

Steve Earle - Way Down In The Hole     
(theme song from The Wire)

Steve Earle’s Official Site, Steve Earle on myspace, Buy Townes


  1. Meaty Ramone Meaty Ramone
    May 14, 2009    

    I’m a fan of Steve Earle, but I by no means like everything he’s done. His pre-jail albums contain a lot of great songs, but not all of the recordings have aged that well.

    After he got out of prison it seemed for a while he couldn’t do no wrong: Train A-Comin (!), I Feel Alright, El Corazon, The Mountain (!!!), all of them killer albums.
    Transcendental Blues – though a good album – had the first real stinkers and from then onwards it went downhill.
    A real disaster and one of the biggest disappointments ever for me music-wise was Washington Square Serenade. Announced as a folkie album and hailed as a kind of comeback it was an embarrassing collection of rewrites and miserably failed experiments. The duet with Allison can cause sudden vomitting.

    That being said, I wasn’t really looking forward to TOWNES. And the fact that Townes in one of my biggest heroes didn’t make it easier and, honestly, I rarely come across a Townes cover I like (here I just must honorably mention Ben Weaver’s terrific take on Two Girls before he went artsy)(and Lyle).

    I only listened half-heartedly to TOWNES once yet and some songs I liked (the bluegrass stuff) and some I didn’t. I was looking forward to the duet with Justin, but that let me down, too. I love Justin’s Townes covers live, the duet with his father feels surprisingly awkward.

    I will give it another chance (and then another and another), but I ain’t too excited about it right now. I heard there’s a limited edition with the album in demo versions, now that one could be interesting.

  2. oz oz
    May 14, 2009    

    I Feel Alright is a very solid album. He lost me once he started injecting so much political rhetoric in his music and I broke up with him. Now that he’s covering Townes and duetting with his son Justin, we got back together and are having a foursome in my headphones.

  3. May 14, 2009    

    So, I’m not the only one who has incestuous relationships with the bands/artists she listens to? Good to know. John Elliot and American Aquarium have been hooking up for some time now.

    Oh, and you need to check out John Elliot&the Hereafter, I think that if Cory can go all girly over him then so can you. 😉 Just remember, he doesn’t have that country twang you like so much.(Seriously, he has the voice of an angel who sings a song called ‘My Mom is a Dog’)

  4. Meaty Ramone Meaty Ramone
    May 15, 2009    

    I just listened to the bonus demo disc, and it’s great, makes the album proper totally useless. And there even is some point to it, since many of Townes’ greatest songs were a bit overproduced in the studio, so the best versions come from live albums. I had wished this would have been a bit more of a celebration of Townes, maybe with some guest appearances by old time friends like Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell or Richard Dobson, but hey, that’s only me dreaming.

    As far as I’m concerned the bonus disc is the real deal and the only reason to spend money on it. And I doubt it’s included in the expensive vinyl release, which is a shame. Once more a case of the demos being way better than the final release.

  5. May 15, 2009    

    now I wish I had the demo’s.

  6. May 15, 2009    

    If anyone would rather just buy a digital copy of the album, it’s on sale at Amazon right now for $2.99.

  7. May 16, 2009    

    fuck yeah! Kate at New West gave our band this album, and now we’ve got em coming in VINYL!!!!!!!!!

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