Monday, July 2, 2018

Steve Earle & the Dukes @ Trabendo, Paris July 2nd, 2018

Country singer/songwriter Steve Earle played the Trabendo last night with his band The Dukes in support of his latest album, the aptly named So You Wannabe An Outlaw.

This guy is the real deal. This ain't Taylor Swift, Bro Country or whatever passes for country music these days. This is an honest, rootsy form of expression that turns the American experience into music everyone can relate to regardless of country, social status or language. And it rocks pretty hard, too.

For a man who exhibits such a rough and rugged exterior, Steve Earle is strikingly earnest and sensitive. He wears his emotions on his sleeve tattoos and his music is the same way: real and uncompromising. There's nothing affected in his tales of lost love and addiction. He is a master storyteller in the vein of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, with a Texas twang and a Southern penchant for the religious.

His ragged band of misfits belied their somewhat disheveled appearance by playing very tight without ever losing that swing that is the backbone of this music. Of course he sang all of his hits and classics like My Old Friend The Blues, Guitar Town or Copperhead Road, but over the course of two hours he also had time to deliver nine songs from his new record and dig deep into his back catalogue, including his collaboration with bluegrass legend Del McCoury.

Steve Earle's life is a classic tale of sin and redemption which is why it lends itself so well to the Americana music treatment. When others like to glorify their past by painting an mythic picture of themselves in order to carefully build their legend, Steve Earle never wallows on his struggles. He stands before us a simple, humble working man just singing his songs and hopes we have a good time listening. And we do.

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