Saturday, May 16, 2009

Steve Earle at Twist & Shout

Sometimes you just run out of superlatives. But let me give it a try. Steve Earle came to Twist and Shout last night and proved to be one of the absolute greats. He showed up a bit early, so I had a chance to talk to him for a few minutes. What an incredibly humble and approachable guy. For someone as multi-talented (Singer/Songwriter, actor, writer, poet, etc) he has almost no star pretension. He just seems like a very normal guy. Obviously his colorful past belies that he was always thus, but now he was most interested in talking about green chile, fishing and sports. After watching him sign about two hundred autographs I heard him speak expertly about a lot of subjects with no hesitation. He is a smart and engaging person.
When he has a guitar in his hands and is standing in front of an audience, he is an extraordinary person. Last night, he played about an hour-long set that had the audience holding its breath in ecstasy. Focusing heavily on songs from his new album of Townes Van Zandt songs Townes as well as a few of his own - most of them about Townes or Colorado - he put every ounce of feeling and heart into every moment, singing with his eyes closed and kicking the wooden stage with his boots to punctuate songs (and knock over water bottles). It was magic. I have to say I think it might have been the best in-store ever. I don’t know, I often feel that way right after an in-store, but this one was really a different animal. The audience of over three hundred was in the palm of his hand as he talked about his friend and mentor Townes as well as his feelings about politics. He is a truly committed liberal who doesn’t just speak out when it is safe. Shortly after 9-11 we hosted him on his The Revolution Starts Now tour and he was just as outspoken - at a time when it wasn’t so safe. But that is Steve Earle. He is never worried about what people want or expect, he is true to his heart and his art.
All the parts came together to make it a special evening. The label (New West) and distribution company (RED) did a lot with few resources and the audience responded by buying over a hundred and fifty copies of the new album. Steve Earle himself gave his time and talent generously and performed a set that nobody in the room will soon forget.

1 comment:

Windfarm said...

thanks for helping make this happen. It was a great in-store.