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Steve Earle (1955)

Stephen Fain Earle

Type :  

  Summary  

Stephen Fain "Steve" Earle is an American singer-songwriter known for his rock, folk and Texas Country as well as his political views. He is also a producer, author, a political activist, and an actor, and has written and directed a play.

  Biography  

 personal life
Earle was born on January 17, 1955, at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. He is the eldest son of Jack Earle, an air traffic controller, and Barbara Earle. Although he was born in Virginia where his father was stationed in the military, the family returned to Texas before Earle's second birthday. His ancestry is Irish Catholic on his mother's side and Scotch-Irish on his father's side. They moved often during his childhood, primarily within Texas, but spent several of his formative years in and around San Antonio, Texas including East Terrell Hills, Converse, and Schertz. He dropped out of school in the 9th grade to move to Houston and learn more about the music business. Earle released his first album, Guitar Town, in 1986. His sister, Stacey Earle, is also a musician, having toured with her brother in the 1990s and sung on the song "When I Fall" on Earle's 2000 album, Transcendental Blues.

Earle has been married seven times, including twice to the same woman . His wives were Sandra "Sandy" Henderson, Cynthia Dunn, Carol-Ann Hunter , Lou-Anne Gill , Maria Teresa Ensenat, Lou-Anne Gill a second time, and finally, in 2005, singer-songwriter Allison Moorer. His first son, Justin Townes Earle, is also a musician, and is named for Townes Van Zandt. Earle and Moorer had their first child together, John Henry Earle, on April 5, 2010.

 career
 Musical career
In 1975, Earle moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he met Guy Clark and his wife Susanna. He appears in the 1975 film Heartworn Highways, which documents the songwriting scene in Nashville around Clark, including fellow Texas musicians Townes van Zandt and Rodney Crowell. Earle had already met Van Zandt in Texas, and refers to Clark and Van Zandt as his mentors and teachers. Clark was instrumental in Earle being hired as a songwriter by the Sunbury Dunbar publishing division of RCA. There he wrote songs for the likes of Carl Perkins, Johnny Lee, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner. His song "Mustang Wine" was due to be recorded by Elvis Presley in 1975, but Presley did not turn up for the recording session. The song was released as a single by Carl Perkins. He also wrote the Patty Loveless hit "A Little Bit in Love." Earle did backing vocals on "Desperados Waiting for a Train" on Clark's first album Old No. 1 and toured in Clark's band. In 1981 Earle achieved a top-ten cut with "When You Fall in Love," which was recorded by Johnny Lee. In 1985 one of his compositions "A Far Cry from You" was recorded by Connie Smith, who made the song a minor hit that year.

Earle's early work as a recorded performer was in the rockabilly style, and can be heard on his compilation album: Early Tracks. The album was recorded for Epic Records, but the company dropped Earle, only releasing the album in 1987 after he found success with MCA Nashville. Earle had to wait until 1986 before his first album, Guitar Town, was released by MCA. It was a critical success and was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The follow-up albums Exit 0 in 1987 and the certified-gold Copperhead Road, 1988, built on this success. With Copperhead Road, Earle moved to MCA Los Angeles and drew increasingly on Rock and roll influences.

Earle had been a substance abuser since an early age and was addicted to heroin for many years. By the time of his 1990 album The Hard Way, it started to become clear that the drugs were seriously affecting him. By 1992, due to his drug problem, he had discontinued performing and recording for two years, a period he refers to as his "vacation in the ghetto." He eventually ended up in jail on drug and firearms charges. Kicking the drug habit while in jail, Earle came out a new man and released two albums within 18 months of his release in late 1994. His comeback album, Train a Comin, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1996. Train a Comin was a return to the country blues-influenced folk of Earle's early career and drew on his older catalog of unrecorded material.


Earle's post-jail musical career is more diversified than his early work. He set up his own record label with producer and engineer Ray Kennedy, allowing him increasing artistic control. This has led to experimentation with a range of styles from country and bluegrass music to folk and hard rock music. He has maintained a strict work ethic. Several albums have been released since. Earle also tours often, playing over 200 shows per year. His concerts tend to be either solo acoustic shows or ensemble affairs with one of his two backing bands, the Dukes or the Bluegrass Dukes.

Earle is the subject of the documentary film Just an American Boy, directed by Amos Poe, which explores his political views as well as his music. The film was shot while Earle was touring in support of his 2002 release Jerusalem. In 2005, he caused consternation among his fans by allowing the song The Revolution Starts Now to be used by General Motors in a TV advertisement for pick-up trucks. In 2006, Earle contributed a cover of Randy Newman's song "Rednecks" to the tribute album Sail Away: The Songs of Randy Newman. Earle is also the subject of two biographies, Steve Earle: Fearless Heart, Outlaw Poet, by the noted New York-based music writer David McGee and Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle by Lauren St. John.

In September 2007, Earle released his twelfth studio album, Washington Square Serenade, on New West Records. Earle recorded the album after relocating to New York City, and it was his first attempt at using digital audio workstation ProTools, as opposed to traditional analog recording techniques. The disc features wife Allison Moorer on "Days Aren't Long Enough" and "Down Here Below." The album includes Earle's version of Tom Waits' song "Way Down in the Hole" which is featured as the theme song for the fifth season of The Wire in which Earle himself appears as Walon. In 2008, Earle produced Joan Baez's album Day After Tomorrow. (Prior to their collaboration on Day After Tomorrow, Baez had covered two Earle songs, "Christmas in Washington" and "Jerusalem," on previous albums.) In the winter, he toured Europe and North America in support of Washington Square Serenade, performing half the set solo and the other half with a DJ. On May 12, 2009, Earle released a tribute album, Townes, on New West Records. The album contains 15 songs written by his late friend and musical mentor Townes Van Zandt. Guest artists appearing on the album include Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, Earle's wife Allison Moorer, and his son Justin Townes Earle. Both Washington Square Serenade and Townes also earned Grammy awards in the contemporary folk category.

Earle released his first novel and fourteenth studio album, both entitled I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive after a Hank Williams song, in the spring of 2011. The album was released on April 26, 2011 and was produced by T-Bone Burnett. Earle describes it as dealing with questions of mortality and having a "more country" sound than his earlier work. He plans a full band tour in support of the album in the summer of 2011.

Since his emergence as a performer, his songs have been covered by various well-known artists, including Joan Baez, The Pretenders, The Proclaimers, Eddi Reader, The Highwaymen, Waylon Jennings, Levon Helm, Emmylou Harris, Percy Sledge and Johnny Cash. Travis Tritt had a #7 country hit in 1995 with Earle's "Sometimes She Forgets."

 Writing career

In addition to music, Earle has written a collection of short stories called Doghouse Roses, several of which draw on his personal experiences as a musician and addict. The book was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in June 2001. Earle has also written poetry and wrote and produced a play about the death penalty entitled Karla. The play was produced off-Broadway and focuses on the death of Karla Faye Tucker, who was the first woman excuted by the state of Texas since the death penalty was reinstated.

Earle's first novel, entitled I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive after a Hank Williams song, was published the spring of 2011. The novel is set in San Antonio in 1963, and tells the story of a defrocked doctor and morphine addict. The doctor makes a living by performing illegal abortions and is haunted by the ghost of Hank Williams, with whom he was traveling when Williams died of an overdose. The novel is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt1.

 Acting career
Earle portrayed a recovering drug addict named Walon in several episodes of the HBO television series The Wire, created by David Simon. He appears first in season one where he addresses a 12-step-type meeting with an account of how he lost everything to addiction: "I pawned my bike, my pickup truck, a National steel guitar, a stamp collection that my grandpa left me; lost a good wife, a bad girlfriend, and the respect of anyone who ever lent me money." His story affects Bubbles and appears to spur him towards recovery. After season one, Walon does not return until Bubbles hits rock-bottom hard in the season four finale. Picking up the thread, he then appears throughout season five as sponsor, as Bubbles attempts to overcome his heroin addiction and its consequences. Earle's song "I Feel Alright" is used in a montage to close out season two. He also performs the opening theme of the fifth season, performing "Way Down in the Hole," a song written by Tom Waits.

Earle also played a supporting role as a drug dealer in Tim Blake Nelson's 2009 movie Leaves of Grass, starring Edward Norton. He also played a street musician in the HBO series Treme, set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Earle's song "This City" can be heard over the closing credits of the first season finale. He was also one of several musicians who sang a mock charity appeal in the final episode of Season 3 of 30 Rock.

 Radio shows
Earle's radio show on Air America began in August 2004 and last aired on June 10, 2007, and that was a rebroadcast of a past episode. Shortly thereafter, he started DJing on a show on Sirius Satellite Radio called Hardcore Troubadour on their Outlaw Country channel.

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  Played TV shows  

  Novels  

  Bands  

  Albums 

  Tracks  

Name Duration Released
The Gulf of Mexico 04:15 2011
This City 02:44 2011
Little Emperor 02:58 2011
I Am a Wanderer 02:53 2011
Waitin' on the Sky 03:28 2011
Heaven or Hell 03:26 2011
Lonely Are the Free 03:23 2011
Every Part of Me 02:51 2011
Meet Me in the Alleyway 04:25 2011
God Is God 03:59 2011
Molly-O 03:20 2011
Brand New Companion 00:00 2009
Loretta 00:00 2009
No Place To Fall 00:00 2009
Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold 00:00 2009
Lungs 00:00 2009
Don't Take It Too Bad 00:00 2009
Where I Lead Me 00:00 2009
Marie 00:00 2009
Colorado Girl 00:00 2009
Delta Momma Blues 00:00 2009
White Freightliner Blues 00:00 2009
Rake 00:00 2009
Down Here Below 04:02 2007
Steve's Hammer 03:15 2007
Tennessee Blues 02:39 2007
Red is the Color 04:19 2007
Oxycontin Blues 02:54 2007
Jericho Road 03:36 2007
Come Home to Me 03:47 2007
Sparkle and Shine 03:12 2007
City of Immigrants 04:18 2007
Satellite Radio 04:09 2007
Days Aren't Long Enough 03:01 2007
Ellis Unit One 04:40 2006
The Gringo's Tale 04:33 2004
Warrior 04:11 2004
Rich Man's War 03:25 2004
State Trooper 05:06 2004
Home to Houston 02:41 2004
The Seeker 03:11 2004
Think It Over 02:32 2004
The Revolution Starts ... 03:10 2004
I Thought You Should Know 03:46 2004
Comin' Around 03:41 2004
F the CC 03:12 2004
Condi, Condi 03:08 2004
Audience Intro 00:28 2003
Democracy 01:51 2003
Jerusalem 04:07 2003
Rex's Blues/Ft. Worth Blues 06:56 2003
Over Yonder (Jonathan's Song) 04:19 2003
I Oppose the Death Penalty 00:46 2003
Pennsylvania Miners 01:08 2003
Schertz, Texas 02:51 2003
Paranoia 01:28 2003
What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love & Understanding 03:39 2003
John Walker's Blues 03:41 2002
Open Your Window 03:51 2002
Conspiracy Theory 04:14 2002
Some Dreams 03:04 2002
Willin' 04:04 2002
Amerika V. 6.0 04:19 2002
Shadowland 02:52 2002
Creepy Jackalope Eye 03:05 2002
Ashes to Ashes 04:02 2002
I Remember You 02:53 2002
Time Has Come Today 04:16 2002
Go Amanda 03:34 2002
Breed 02:44 2002
My Uncle 03:29 2002
The Truth 02:21 2002
Dominick St. 03:10 2002
Sara's Angel 03:02 2002
What's A Simple Man To Do? 02:29 2002
Johnny Too Bad 04:09 2002
The Kind 02:04 2002
Me and the Eagle 04:55 2002
Katie Belle 01:44 09/2001
Pancho and Lefty 05:22 09/2001
Baby Took a Limo to Memphis 03:31 09/2001
Dublin Blues 04:29 09/2001
A Song For 03:29 09/2001
Tom Ames' Prayer 03:22 09/2001
Randall Knife 04:46 09/2001
Ain't Leavin' Your Love 02:55 09/2001
Tecumseh Valley 04:36 09/2001
Valentine's Day 01:03 09/2001
Mercenary Song 03:02 09/2001
The Cape 03:29 09/2001
Immigrant Eyes 04:08 09/2001
Close Your Eyes 04:45 2001
Little Sister 03:16 2001
Everyone's In Love With You 03:30 06/06/2000
I Don't Want To Lose You Yet 03:22 06/06/2000
Transcendental Blues 04:13 06/06/2000
When I Fall 04:34 06/06/2000
Wherever I Go 01:57 06/06/2000
Lonelier Than This 03:11 06/06/2000
Dublin 03:38 06/06/2000
Over Yonder "Jonathan's Song 03:51 06/06/2000
The Love Sponge Strings 03:46 06/06/2000
All My Life 03:27 06/06/2000
I Can Wait 03:16 06/06/2000
Nashville 03:22 06/06/2000
Another Town 02:22 06/06/2000
Halo 'Round The Moon 02:13 06/06/2000
Texas Eagle 00:00 23/02/1999
Connemara Breakdown 00:00 23/02/1999
Outlaw's Honeymoon 00:00 23/02/1999
The Mountain 00:00 23/02/1999
Harlan Man 00:00 23/02/1999
The Graveyard Shift 00:00 23/02/1999
Long, Lonesome Highway Blues 00:00 23/02/1999
I'm Still in Love With You 00:00 23/02/1999
Paddy on the Beat 00:00 23/02/1999
Carrie Brown 00:00 23/02/1999
Dixieland 00:00 23/02/1999
Yours Forever Blue 00:00 23/02/1999
Leroy's Dustbowl Blues 00:00 23/02/1999
I Still Carry You Around 02:45 1997
If You Fall 04:10 1997
Here I Am 02:38 1997
Taneytown 05:13 1997
The Other Side of Town 04:17 1997
Christmas in Washington 04:58 1997
Poison Lovers 03:47 1997
N.Y.C. 03:37 1997
You Know the Rest 02:12 1997
Somewhere Out There 03:46 1997
Telephone Road 03:42 1997
More Than I Can Do 02:37 1996
Hard-Core Troubadour 02:41 1996
South Nashville Blues 03:39 1996
Feel Alright 03:04 1996
Billy and Bonnie 03:39 1996
CCKMP 04:30 1996
The Unrepentant 04:31 1996
Poor Boy 02:55 1996
Now She's Gone 02:48 1996
Hurtin' Me, Hurtin' You 03:21 1996
I'm Looking Through You 02:28 1995
Angel Is the Devil 02:12 1995
Nothin' Without You 03:02 1995
Goodbye 04:57 1995
Sometimes She Forgets 03:01 1995
Hometown Blues 02:41 1995
Rivers of Babylon 03:30 1995
Mystery Train, Pt. 2 02:31 1995
Ben McCulloch 04:10 1995
Northern Winds 01:40 1995
Six Days on the Road 03:05 1993
Fearless Heart 04:36 1991
Standin' on the Corner 01:36 1991
Someday 03:54 1991
Good Ol' Boy (Gettin' Tough) 04:23 1991
Intro 00:53 1991
She's About a Mover 04:14 1991
Regular Guy 03:17 1990
Esmeralda's Hollywood 06:01 1990
Country Girl 04:11 1990
Promise You Anything 02:43 1990
When the People Find Out 04:10 1990
The Other Kind 05:09 1990
Have Mercy 04:41 1990
Justice in Ontario 04:47 1990
Billy Austin 06:16 1990
This Highway's Mine 03:54 1990
West Nashville Boogie 03:09 1990
Hopeless Romantics 02:45 1990
Squeeze Me In 02:32 1987
San Antonio Girl 03:06 1987
Breakdown Land 02:59 1987
Angry Young Man 04:24 1987
Open Up Your Door 02:07 1987
A Little Bit in Love 02:19 1987
No. 29 03:30 1987
Continental Trailways Blues 02:19 1987
Cry Myself to Sleep 02:56 1987
Sweet Little '66 02:38 1987
I Love You Too Much 03:37 1987
If You Need a Fool 02:11 1987
What'll You Do About Me 02:37 1987
Nowhere Road 02:27 1987
The Week of Living Dangerously 04:26 1987
Nothin' but You 02:25 1987
Cadillac 02:41 1987
I Ain't Ever Satisfied 04:00 1987
My Baby Worships Me 02:08 1987
Annie, Is Tonight the Night 02:32 1987
The Rain Came Down 04:11 1987
pedal steel guitar 03:47 29/01/1986
My Old Friend The Blues 03:07 29/01/1986
Richard Bennett 03:58 29/01/1986
Hillbilly Highway 03:38 29/01/1986
Goodbye's All We've Got Left 03:24 29/01/1986
Guitar Town 02:33 29/01/1986
Bruce Springsteen 05:13 29/01/1986
Down The Road 02:37 29/01/1986
Little Rock 'N' Roller 04:51 29/01/1986
Dead Flowers 05:35
When Will We Be Married? 04:10
The Devil's Right Hand 03:04
Back to the Wall 05:29
Snake Oil 03:31
Nothing but a Child 04:26
Copperhead Road 04:30
Once You Love 04:39
Waiting on You 05:10
You Belong to Me 04:25
Even When I'm Blue 04:14
Johnny Come Lately 04:11

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Steve Earle", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.