By Mabel Suen
By Cassie Kohler
By Evan C. Jones
By RFT Music
By RFT Music
By Tom Finkel
By Ryan Wasoba
By Roy Kasten
With all the heavy weather made about Earle's politics, it's too easy to overlook his deceptively adventurous music. With every album since his 1995 post-prison comeback, Earle has tested himself sonically, fusing his hillbilly snarl and working class ethos with psychedelic rock, bluegrass, speed grunge and roller-rink soul. He doesn't worry about writing original melodies; instead, he nicks his tunes with the artfulness of an unrepentant ex-con.
"The biggest rule about writing songs or writing anything," he says, "is that the mediocre borrow, and the people who are really fucking good at it steal with impunity. We are way down the line in the history of Western music to come up with something truly original. The way you make it your own, that's an intangible. 'I Ain't Ever Satisfied,' I stole that from 'The Walls Came Down' by the Call. I stole 'I Feel All Right' from 'Birth, School, Work, Death' by the Godfathers. The first interview I did when I got of jail was with Geoffrey Himes, and he said, 'Do you realize that "I Feel All Right" is the same chords as "Gloria?"' It's, like, duhhhh...."
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