Roots rocker Steve Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982. Since then, he has been a force in the music scene, which has garnered him three Grammy awards.
This week, Earle released Terraplane, his 16th studio album, recorded in Nashville with his backing band The Dukes. For this album, The Dukes consist of Kelly Looney on bass, Will Rigby on drums, Chris Masterson on guitar, and Eleanor Whitmore on violin and vocals.
Terraplane showcases Steve's ability to write great blues songs, and The Dukes ability to breathe life into them. There is a nice mix of electrified blues tunes like "Baby Baby Baby (Baby)," and "The Usual Time," both of which include harp playing to give them a down-home feeling. Steve's acoustic playing shines in songs like "You're The Best Lover That I Ever Had," with Chris Masterson's electrified riffs sliding underneath.
Subtly nodding to his recent seventh divorce, Earle explained to the Wall Street Journal, what he believes the blues are all about:
The blues aren’t necessarily about being depressed, they’re a reaction to all those tensions that relationships between men and women create, and those tensions that just trying to get by in the world create.
However, don't try reading too much into his personal life. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Earle said:
It’s not that they (the new album and his divorce) don’t have anything to do with each other, but it also is really not anybody else’s business except for what’s on the record when it comes right down to it...
This record, (the songs), some of them are exactly the truth. Some of them aren’t. Some of them are completely and totally made up by me at this moment in my life. So yes, they have a connection to my divorce.
"Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now" and "Acquainted With The Wind" highlight Eleanor Whitmore's contribution with back-porch violin playing and vocal accompaniment. "Baby's Just As Mean As Me" recalls an earlier era of breezy guitar playing and joint vocals from Steve and Eleanor. Steve's voice is seasoned, and is reminiscent of hearing tales from a wise guru.
Terraplane covers a wide range of Americana, from folk to blues and straight up rock. The album never settles on one style for too long, and flows with the fluidity of a downstream river. Each track leads smoothly into the next, and fans will want to put this album on repeat.
For Steve Earle's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.