Protest Songs

Songwriter, performer and left-wing activist Steve Earle turns his politics into art

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...."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
St. Louis Concert Tickets

Concert Calendar

  • October
  • Sat
    25
  • Sun
    26
  • Mon
    27
  • Tue
    28
  • Wed
    29
  • Thu
    30
  • Fri
    31
Loading...