Eight o’clock in the evening rolled around, and here we all stood or sat awaiting to be taken through one man’s history of himself and all through his songs. But first it was The Mastersons to open up the evening. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this evening. There was an interesting mix of folks that came out to the show. From older folks, to middle aged, to folks in their mid-twenties tryin’ on something new. This is what music does, and this is why music is so powerful. But, I digress and must talk about the opener The Mastersons. Who, for all intents and purposes could have headlined the night themselves. The Mastersons are a husband and wife Eleanor Whitmore, and Chris Masterson. Harmonies like a delightful wine, and a fiddle to sharpen your soul these for half an hour gave us good reason to love them. Their brand of folk/country music befits Anywhere, USA and I highly recommend them. Now, like the show last night we must give way to the headliner.
Steve Earle has been touring this country for nearly 40 years playing songs. He defined, and redefined the word “troubadour.” This tour comes upon his latest release Terraplane which is a blues record, and which like most of Steve’s body of work resembles that of a mirror. This is one happens to reflect and project onto us a man going through yet more changes. Yes, he is going through another divorce, and yes he has had his fair share of battles with sobriety, but all of this hasn’t stopped him. All the heartache that comes from all of this hasn’t stopped him from putting out 16 albums and traveling the world simply through music, and Sunday at night at The Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky after 126 shows Steve took to the stage and did what always does, rocked.
The show was this interesting journey through a man, like stated previously, has 16 albums under his belt. With this grand of a catalogue a show can go in multiple directions and did. He took to the stage with an entrance song playing which is the title of his album Terraplane, which was originally performed, recorded, and written by the blues legend, icon, and possibly god Robert Johnson. They hit on all different styles the blues, Texas swing, rock and roll, and what brought Steve here just him and his guitar. The moments between songs were likened to a teacher giving you a history lesson, and just stories. At one point though however he did say he was backing Bernie Sanders for the upcoming election. For two and half hours he rocked, he rolled, he swang, told stories, and made the experience of music a joy to share in. After the two hours were up he stood on stage for a moment seemingly soaking it all in. He stood center stage for a moment in time, and seemed extremely grateful, or at least that’s the impression he left on me. Steve said in an interview which I read on his website, he was talking about the void between the fan and the artist and he said “As a songwriter, that’s where I want to go, to touch that place between you and me.” He definitely accomplished what he set out to achieve.
My first introduction to Steve Earle was a film called “Heartworn Highways” a film in which around the holidays, ironically enough, a group of guys from east Texas gathered at the home of Guy Clark told stories, drank (a lot), and played songs. Steve was in his twenties then, the youngest one there and from that point on he was locked in. His journey, this written memoir through 16 albums, too many shows to even count, a semi-acting career as well, all brought him to a stage in Covington, Kentucky where he simply kept the journey going. There are no grandiose ideas or words to explain Steve Earle, rather, he is one of the most honest artists out there now and still going strong. Where the journey leads who the hell knows, but for now and for one night all that stopped. And for a couple hours we escaped everyday life and headed for a dirt road that lies somewhere between here and anywhere.