Commentary: Introductions/Liner Notes

Admired Work Introductions/Liner Notes

Liner notes essay – Steve Earle’s new boxed set

I had the distinct honor of being asked to write an essay for the recent release of Steve Earle’s extraordinary post-1995 songbook, when he came roaring back from addiction and a brief incarceration to reassert himself as one of our most relevant songwriters.  Yes, Steve is at this point a friend and colleague, having worked with us on “The Wire” and “Treme” both.  But I’d’ve written what follows if I had only the music itself on which to rely.  For those who have not yet savored Mr. Earle and his work, the new boxed set, “Steve Earle: The Warner Brothers Years,” which includes audio and video live performances from that period as well as three essential studio recordings, is a perfect entry point into what has become an extraordinary canon of American roots music. *        *        * I am generally down on the idea of heroes.  We have enough of them in American culture, certainly, yet we are always in the process of tearing some...

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