The Earle of Texas
Howdy do, folks. I was in Philly all week and used the opportunity to catch up on some shows. Monday night it was Steve Earle at the Ardmore Music Hall. Steve has been around for ages, but I've never seen him live. It was nice that he decided to come on out to the Main Line and bring The Dukes with him. I love it when musicians make it easy for me!
(Hey, before I get to more on Steve-O, I wanted to remind everyone in the Philly area that Wayne's FREE music festival is coming up the first full weekend in June. The Wailers are playing, but even better, Marah! I love Marah, the home-town kids made good, and they always put on a great show - loose, great tunes, fine musicianship, and lots of kitsch (like a bagpiper or go-go girls). It's always fun.)
(Can I do one more diversion? Thanks, that's awfully kind of you. I just read that the venerable Trocadero is closing down. This old theater in Philly's Chinatown is a good venue, and I've seen some great shows there. But it's run down and having a hard time competing with all the new venues in town. Maybe someone will pony up the dough and do a makeover ala the Met. That would be nice. If you're reading this and have about $40 million to spare, do us all a favor, ok? Much appreciated.)
Back to Steve Earle. Steve is from San Antonio, and has been a player in the music industry since about 1982. Known for his combination of rock, country and roots, he is probably best labeled as alt-country or outlaw country. Whatever, right? He has some great albums out, and some killer tracks that I always wanted to see live. The Kid was psyched.
I went to the show with my buddy Deane-O, who I hadn't hung out with in ages. He wanted to go to Tired Hands for the pre-game, and I went along because that's the kind of guy I am. I did the burger for safety, and then we strolled across the street to AMH. About 2/3 through the show, that burger caught up with me, and for the first time in ages, I felt seriously nauseous. It was so bad that I eventually had to leave the venue for a breather, and that was just about the time the show was coming close to ending. Thus, I missed a couple of tunes.
But not to worry, as I did get most of the show in, and I got some great pictures. Steve-O isn't one to move about the stage very much, but he did play a number of different guitars (including the world's tiniest one) and his band also mixed and matched their instruments. Earle does do a fair amount of talking during his shows, and Monday was no exception. He talked a lot about Guy Clark, his musical mentor, and most of the show was devoted to either Clark songs that Earle covered, or vice-versa.
Earle has lead an interesting life, with heavy drug use, seven marriages (seriously, is that the triumph of hope over experience or what?), and outspoken political positions on matters like the death penalty. He has 16 albums out, and has played with a bunch of other big-name musicians. He has a lot to say, and a deep catalog from which to choose. The songs that I wanted to hear most, like Guitar Town, Copperhead Road and Galway Girl, were all played and done well. But the show was a bit too heavy on the Guy Clark covers for my tastes.
The Dukes are a competent backup band, and the pedal steel and accordian are always favorites of BRP. I have to say that the lead guitarist looks like Dana Carvey playing Garth in the Wayne's World movies, especially when he is singing, but I didn't get a great picture of that. I did get one of Earle where he resembles Santa. We'll have to be satisfied with that, I guess. See below.
There were some problems with the equipment, making the stand-up bass unplayable during one song, and resulting in Earle bitching at his roadie during another. So be it. It sounded good in the Hall, and the crowd was digging it. Being the Main Line, it was a well-heeled and respectful audience, and frankly I was surprised to see the amount of alcohol being consumed on a Monday night. I guess there were some retirees there, and what do they care? Tuesday is just another day off for them.
The best news is that I didn't spew (but if I had, it was good to know that Garth was there with that little paper cup), and I got home at a reasonable hour. Tonight, however, I'm venturing down to Underground Arts to see the Meat Puppets, and it's likely to be a wee bit later when I finally get to bed. That's ok because tomorrow is Saturday, the best day of the week. I hope you have a great weekend, and enjoy the gray spring weather - can someone tell me when Philly was moved to Seattle? Enjoy some rock and party down. Ciao.
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My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.