Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
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Washington Square Serenade (New West, 2007)

Steve Earle

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Steve Earle opens his label debut by declaring, "Goodbye "Guitar Town." But he's primarily saying so long to his Nashville residency with "Tennessee Blues" because this man bid farewell to the country music community a long time ago. NYC is home now, and its known characteristics saturate much of the disc.

"Down Here Below" uses New York's grimy exterior as a metaphor for our increasingly dirty world, while "City Of Immigrants" realizes New York is the first hometown for many new Americans. Although Earle experienced fleeting country music success, he's always been a folk troubadour at heart. "Satellite Radio," for instance, comes off like hick-hop with its rap cadence and redneck vocal. Its main character treats this popular new electronic medium like little more than an advanced CB radio.

This latest Earle CD offering is also not as pointedly political as past releases. Instead, Earle has chosen to make more generalized social statements. "Steve's Hammer (For Pete)," for example, longs for a day when If-I-Had-A-Hammerers can permanently lay their hammers down. Its lyric jumps from the legendary John Henry to Pete Seeger to our ozone-depleted modern times. But unless the world sees drastic changes soon, don't expect Earle to ever be found without hammer in hand.

CDs by Steve Earle

GUY, 2019 So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, 2017 Terraplane, 2015 The Warner Bros Years, 2013 The Low Highway, 2013 I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, 2011 Townes, 2009 Copperhead Road deluxe edition, 2008 Washington Square Serenade, 2007

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