Steve Earle has to be one of my absolute favorite songwriters; whiskey, trains, hobo’s, vagrants, bandits, murderers, etc., the man sure knows how to tell a story. Yes, I’d happily crawl over broken glass to stick flags in his shit just to hear him sing an old-timey tale or two; yet, I haven’t actually put one of his albums on in a while now. So I decided to rectify this immediately for this afternoon’s easy 6k run by busting out the ‘Copperhead Road’ album. Don’t judge me now, this is some good shit.
Often referred to as Earle’s first “rock album”, he himself considers it the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass, or “power twang” as Rolling Stone magazine has labeled it. Whatever, it’s an awesome almost forbidden landscape of left wing politics, returning veterans, back country bootleggers and, for whatever reason, a Christmas song thrown in for good measure. Exactly the kind of music that’s suitably reminiscent of the lonely dusty gravel roads I run nowadays.
I’ll forgive it that the album’s title track is now the theme music for the Discovery Channel’s reality television show ‘Moonshiners’. You just can’t win them all. But on a positive note, the album cover is pretty bad ass. Yes, skulls before skulls were cool and – dare I say it – ‘cute’.