Song of the Day – Sep 25/07

MP3 Steve Earle “Satellite Radio”

September 25, 2007 — ROOTS rocker Steve Earle, ex alcoholic and drug addict, lost five years as a homeless junkie, spent four months in jail and is a socialist.

The Texas-raised singer, now 52, was once condemned for his empathetic tune “John Walker Blues” about John Walker Lindh – the so-called American Taliban.

So what’s Earle talking about at a quiet lunch at a French restaurant near his Greenwich Village home?

Cauliflower versus potato gratin, of course.

It’s all part of his transformation from Nashville bad boy to sober New York troubadour.

Even his newest album, “Washington Square Serenade,” is less polemic.

“It’s not intentionally apolitical, it’s intentionally intimate,” says the artist/activist, digging into an escargot appetizer. “The last two records were overtly political. They needed to be. I needed to do this one for me.”

The album is also an ode to his new neighborhood – and new wife.

After living in Nashville for 30 years, Earle, a lifelong Yankees fan, moved to Manhattan in 2005 with his sixth wife, country singer Allison Moorer.

“This is the neighborhood where my job was invented,” Earle says, referring to the area’s rich folk history.

He’s not kidding. Earle, who plays a recovering addict in “The Wire,” lives on Jones Street, where the famous album cover for “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” was shot.

Earle recorded the album at home, using Pro-Tools, and completed it at Jimi Hendrix’s old Electric Lady Studio. Dust Brother John King produced.

“I needed to work by myself to keep the songs to myself, to maintain the intimacy of a pretty personal record,” he says. He became comfortable with using synthetic drums and creating loops, evident on the song “Satellite Radio” (see MPFrees), a reference to “Hardcore Troubadour,” the program he hosts for Sirius Satellite Radio.

While he’s paid tribute to Dylan, he also devoted a show to the songs of Burt Bacharach. For the surprise alone, you got to love a guy who spins “Close to You” just a little more.

That’s in line with his varied career.

“The audience that stays with me would be insulted if I didn’t throw them a curveball,” he says.

One Response to “Song of the Day – Sep 25/07”

  1. Lifelong Yankees fan????

    Crap. Now I gotta sell all my Steve Earle records.

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