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Saturday, 8 August 2020

50 Americana Albums You Should Hear Before You Die - Guitar Town

Steve Earle has released around 20 or so albums over the last 40 years either as a solo artist or with his band the Dukes. I have most of them but my favourite still remains his 1986 debut album Guitar Town on MCA. It has to be said that 1995's Train a Comin' gives it a good run for it's money.

It has 10 tracks (according to Wiki) and is only 34 minutes and 345 seconds long and not a second it wasted. My copy has an 11th track a live recording of Good Ol' Boy (Getting Tough) taking it up to a whopping 38 minutes and 47 seconds long.

Steve Earle arrived on the scene around the same time as the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris and helped give Country music the kick up the backside it so desperately needed.
The songs have a rougher edge to them and cover subjects that had more resonance with a younger audience used to other forms of music

Everybody told me you can't get far
On thirty-seven dollars and a Jap guitar

My grandaddy was a miner, but he finally saw the light He didn't have much, just a beat-up truck and a dream about a better life

There ain't a lot that you can do in this town
You drive down to the lake and then you turn back around

Songs about a generational shift and about leaving small town America to search for a more interesting and rewarding life. They also reflect the difficulty of living in abject poverty in Reagan's America.
You could argue not much has changed although Steve Earle is still taking a stance albeit an increasingly lonely one.

Steve Earle - Guitar Town

Steve Earle - Hillbilly Highway

Steve Earle - Someday


  1. I was wondering when this one was going to turn up. As you say, he's made many more great records but this is still my favourite too

  2. I saw him at Dingwalls on the Guitar Town tour and several times more in later years, but that was my favourite show and LP.

  3. His voice has changed a bit over the years