Night Music: Steve Earle, “Copperhead Road”

Quite simply, I love Steve Earle.

A great songwriter and performer, with a social conscience and the conviction to speak out, Earle has had his demons, a la Johnny Cash.

Like Cash, Earle had his issues with drugs and the law, including spending time behind bars.

However, like Cash, that seems to have bound the singer to the working class in a way most performers of substance (not talking Toby Keith, here) might simply wish for.

This song, from the album of the same name–which happens to be my favorite of Earle’s catalog–just rocks it with words and attitude and even a sort of contextual prohibition sense of history. Did I say it rocks, too?

Earle has indeed produced a fabulous, and somewhat varied body of work, be it this early sort of alt/country rock, his work with Del McCoury, or his fantastic anti-Middle East war tome, Jerusalem.

It is high time we gave some space to Mr. Earle (and I don’t care what his friends call him!)

3 thoughts on “Night Music: Steve Earle, “Copperhead Road”

  1. I really like everything about this song except the changes. Or rather, the changes don’t bear the repetition. At least once as they build up they should throw in a new chord. Steve Earle reminds me of Mark Farner and I don’t mean that as an insult. Same sweet toughguy brand of Americana.

  2. Played this in all three successful country cover bands I was in. In the first, it was a mutual choice. In the second two, I brought it along.

    CR is the rare combination of rockin’, crowd pleasing and fun to play (never gets boring). In my younger days, I’d climb my amp and jump off at some strategic point. Art, at its most pure.

  3. Nice Steve!

    I have played it, but usually w/friends, on acoustic, with mandolin and fiddle. I can do the Earle growl pretty well. it is indeed good fun to play. and, you are right: never gets boring.

    in fact, the whole Copperhead Road album is fantastic.

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