Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

 |   |  1 min read

Steve Earle: Lonely Are the Free
Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)

Perhaps because there is already so much Steve Earle in the world -- this is his 14th studio album by my account -- there is very little frisson of delight or surprise coming from this album.

Little Emperor would seem to be addressed to George W Bush ("no pomp and circumstance, no more shock and awe, you're just a little emperor that's all") but seems belated -- although no one questions Earle was outspoken during that particular regime -- and the fiddle-driven shanty-like Gulf of Mexico will play well in Irish bars, especially if Shane MacGowan gets up to share in Earle's Pogue-like hoarse vocal. But it doesn't resonate here.

This City is another tribute to New Orleans with a horn section, but his slow and sad delivery hardly gives cause for the optimism the lyric suggests. It is also a leaden note to end the album on.

And throughout Earle goes through folk-sourced material (Molly-O, I Am A Wanderer), his worn-down-but-believing-man observations (God is God), acoustic singer/songwriter soul baring (the rather lovely Every Part of Me), a dreary duet with Allison Moorer on Heaven or Hell which has an unworthy lyrics . . .

Meet Me in the Alleyway is interesting -- grounded in Tom Waits of the early Eighties (Swordfishtrombones to Rain Dogs) with a New Orleans funky skew -- and Lonely Are the Free is a moving acoustic ballad which steers a course between the Biblical and the political.

So not a great Steve Earle album, just another one.

Interested in Steve Earle? Then you really need this one.

Share It

Your Comments

Mike Rudge - Jun 11, 2011

I think that, without even hearing the album, I am likely to come to the same conclusion. His albums have been very samey for a long time.

Interestingly though I have a few friends who are new to Steve and who wax lyrical about the new stuff - so I wonder whether us old timers (in terms of knowing and appreciating Mr Earle) have just had our fill and dont hear the quality as many of the albums are so similar.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Sigur Ros: Meo suo i eyrum vio spilum endalaust (EMI)

Sigur Ros: Meo suo i eyrum vio spilum endalaust (EMI)

The good thing about this being disappointing is that I doubt I'll have to type the album title (which apparently means "with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly") too many times.After... > Read more

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

Rock critics and civilians are generally divided over David Bowie: people on the street seem to prefer the stabbing pop-rock of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane (with party favourite The Jean... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

JULIA LEE RECONSIDERED (2015): Not just the KC queen of rude blues

JULIA LEE RECONSIDERED (2015): Not just the KC queen of rude blues

At the time of her death in 1958 at age 56, blues singer and pianist Julia Lee – who had started her career at 16, worked with the young Walter Page (bass), saxophonist Benny Carter and... > Read more

PATTI AUSTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Along came Jones . . . and Jacko

PATTI AUSTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Along came Jones . . . and Jacko

Patti Austin laughs frequently, sounds a world removed from her diva-like peers, makes references to Snoop Dogg and Rod Stewart, and admits her career – now more than five decades long and... > Read more