Steve Earle To Play Two Shows at Rams Head On Stage: February 10th & 11th

Steve Earle’s life could easily serve as proxy for last year’s Inside Llewyn Davis, a film loosely based on the life of folk musician Dave Van Ronk (personally I think it would have done better at the box office too).  Earle began playing guitar in his early teen years and worked his way up to a staff songwriter job, educating himself under the tutelage of country legends Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark in Texas and Tennessee, before developing his own whiskey-throated, one-man country blues show. Differentiated from his peers by his ability to meld up-and-coming, rough-edged, alternative guitar styles with the tried and true drawl of down-home country, Earle’s early albums would prove the eventual bridge between the popular folk rock of the 60s and 70s (the Eagles, Byrds, etc.) and the surge of early 90s new country and alt-country bands (think Brooks & Dunn and Uncle Tupelo, respectively).  It’s a soulful, heartfelt, and aching sound at times, but at others, it’s a rollicking good example of triumphant Southwestern bar rock for the underdog in all of us.  In an alternate reality, Steve Earle would be the fake identity used by a burnt-out Springsteen, who never made it big and so decided to drive out to the Mexican borderline to spend his days drinking and his nights playing to empty seats at broken down honky tonks. But as the story goes, the real Earle made a name for himself, earning three Grammys and extending his influence to reach a new generation today, not only through his own musical legacy, but through the music of his son, Justin Townes Earle (named after Van Zandt), a talented singer and guitarist in his own right.  The elder Earle continues to innovate and develop new material, releasing “The Low Highway” with the Dukes (and the Duchesses) just last year, his 15th album since 1986 (the title track is excellent).  He’s also contributed as a musician, writer or actor in a variety of movies and television shows over the years, even playing HIV-positive heroin addict, Walon, for a few episodes on the HBO series, “The Wire.”  In one memorable scene, Walon (Earle) delivers a strikingly sincere speech to a room full of recovering heroin addicts in Baltimore, channeling the honest, gritty essence of Americana so characteristic of his songs.

Come to the Rams Head On Stage to see this true American artist imbue that same spirit in two intimate acoustic shows on February 10th and 11th.  The Monday night show is sold out.  There are still seats available for the Tuesday night, February 11th show, but space is limited so get your tickets early.

– Matthew Ellis


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