With Steve Earle & The Dukes playing a much-anticipated show for ‘Listening Lawn’ at Grand Rapids’ Studio Park on Wednesday, Local Spins offers up a playlist of songs spanning his remarkable career.
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Prolific doesn’t begin to describe Steve Earle’s output over the years.
Even during his darkest, most tortured, drug-addled days of yore, Earle managed to create some of the most compelling, most important music that American singer-songwriters have produced over the past four decades. (He’s been sober since the mid-1990s.)
A country rebel whose music spews rock ‘n’ roll fire as well as folk-fueled lyricism, Earle’s uniquely earthy, insightful, political, edgy and tender songs have influenced generations of fellow songwriters and his collaborations with legendary artists — from Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris to the Del McCoury Band and The Supersuckers — have created musical sparks.
Now 67, he released his 22nd album, “Jerry Jeff,” in May, a tribute to the music of Jerry Jeff Walker — following up similar collections paying homage to his late son, Justin Townes Earle, as well as influential songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. Earle also hosts a show on Sirius XM Radio, all while writing two books and his second play.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Steve Earle & The Dukes play Listening Room’s “Listening Lawn” series outside Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids, with The Whitmore Sisters getting the evening started. Tickets, $60 seated and $45 standing, are available online here.
To prepare for this week’s much-talked-about Grand Rapids show — Earle’s only Michigan stop on this leg of his North American tour — Local Spins has assembled the ultimate Steve Earle Playlist.
It’s a potent collection of enduring songs that he’s written or interpreted since releasing his head-turning 1986 debut album, “Guitar Town,” which many rank among the best albums of the rock era. And it confirms his status as a true “Hard-Core Troubadour.”
STEVE EARLE: The Ultimate Local Spins Playlist
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