Home Read Classic Album Review: Steve Earle | Just An American Boy

Classic Album Review: Steve Earle | Just An American Boy

The eternally outspoken singer-songwriter has his say on his latest live release.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Steve Earle’s music speaks volumes. And, on his new live CD, so does the man himself.

The soundtrack to a forthcoming Earle documentary, Just An American Boy was recorded over the past few years at shows in Canada and the U.S. in the wake of Earle’s controversial song John Walker’s Blues (whose first line supplies the CD title). Not surprisingly, Steve — who has long considered the stage as much a political platform as a performance space — eschews the usual pandering ‘Hello Cleveland!’ stage banter to weigh in and sound off on politics, patriotism, capital punishment, democracy and other weighty topics. Which is not to say this two-disc set is one long civics class — the irascible roots-rocker also spins some hilarious tales about his misspent Texas youth and how you can’t go home again (unless you want to end up in jail). And between the chatter, he serves up a first-class set list that toggles between newer material like Ashes to Ashes and Jerusalem, old faves like Guitar Town and Copperhead Road, bluegrass numbers like The Mountain and covers of Townes Van Zandt’s Rex’s Blues and Nick Lowe’s (What’s So Funny ’Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?


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