Thursday, June 23, 2011

Someday comes for Steve Earle

We just read a Q&A with Steve Earle in Acoustic Guitar magazine in which he declares the greatest songwriter of his generation is ... Bruce Springsteen.

We found that surprising, but probably shouldn't have. Earle has always been a big fan of Springsteen. He recorded a great live version of "State Trooper" that was included as a bonus track on the 2002 reissue of Guitar Town.  If you go back and listen to that disc -- and we do, often, because it's such a great collection of songs -- you'll hear the Springsteen influence as much Earle's early mentor Townes Van Zant.

It's hard to avoid comparisions between Springsteen's rebel anthem "Born To Run" and Earle's "Someday." Both want to get out of Dodge while the getting's good.  We used to count out-of-state plates at a filling station in a one-horse town, so we understand the sentiments expressed in "Someday."

There ain't a lot that you can do in this town
You drive down to the lake and then you turn back around
You go to school and you learn to read and write
So you can walk into that county bank and sign away your life

I work at the fillin' station on the interstate
Pumpin' gasoline and countin' out of state plates
They ask me how far into Memphis son and where's the nearest beer
They don't even know that there's a town around here

Someday I'm finally gonna let go
'Cause I know there's a better way
And I wanna know what's over that rainbow
I'm gonna get out of here someday

Now my brother went to college 'cause he played football
I'm still hangin' round 'cause I'm a little bit small
I got me a 67 Chevy, she's low and sleek and black
Someday I'll put her on that interstate and never look back

Earle finally put her on the interstate -- to New York City -- and he's never looked back at Tennessee, or Texas for that matter. Not much cowboy rebel left in those bones, or so it seems, and there's nothing wrong with that (but we do wonder what Townes would've thought). We've seen him acting on TV, we're just starting to read his book I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive and we finally got around to ordering the new CD. We have tickets to his show at the Pabst Theater in July (thanks for adding that date).

You could say the second-best songwriter of his generation is keeping us busy.

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