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

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (EMI)

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (EMI)

This alarmingly good album released in late '98 -- made up from three impossible-to-find EPs by the Glaswegian quartet -- blurs the boundaries so much between pop and dub, art rock and folk that it... > Read more

Elton John: The Captain and the Kid (Mercury)

Elton John: The Captain and the Kid (Mercury)

By an odd coincidence I recently bought a battered vinyl copy of Elton John’s autobiographical 75 album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. For some reason it had gone right past me... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

CAROLE KING AND JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEWED (2010): Attitudes and platitudes

CAROLE KING AND JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEWED (2010): Attitudes and platitudes

Carole King and James Taylor hardly need an introduction. For 40 years -- more in King’s case, she started writing the music for Gerry Goffin‘s lyrics in the early 60s -- their songs... > Read more

THE RESTLESS GENERATION by PETE FRAME: Britain before the Beatles

THE RESTLESS GENERATION by PETE FRAME: Britain before the Beatles

There is a widely held view, especially amongst those who came of age in the Sixties, that nothing much happened in British music before the Beatles. Yes, there was Cliff Richard and the... > Read more