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Essential Steve Earle

Steve Earle

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Album Review

Steve Earle lives up to the title billing here. While some of Earle's recent work (and live shows) have inclined to excess, this disc collects lean, mean, and vital material from Earle's first three outings — the country-rock masterpiece Guitar Town, the inward-looking Exit 0, and the angry lashing out of Copperhead Road. Essential is topped off by "Continental Trailways Blues," previously available only on a 1987 compilation. Thirteen tracks is a little skimpy; some rarities from the vaults would have been a nice touch.

Biography

Born: January 17, 1955 in Fort Monroe, VA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the strictest sense, Steve Earle isn't a country artist; he's a roots rocker. Earle emerged in the mid-'80s, after Bruce Springsteen had popularized populist rock & roll and Dwight Yoakam had kick-started the neo-traditionalist movement in country music. At first, Earle appeared to be more indebted to the rock side than country, as he played a stripped-down, neo-rockabilly style that occasionally verged on outlaw country. However, his unwillingness to conform to the rules of Nashville or rock...
Full bio