Wednesday, August 22, 2012


About a year after I'd last seen Steve Earle & The Dukes and Duchesses at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York, we returned to see them again.  I wrote a review of the show for CBS New York, but I felt I had to write a more personal take on the show.

The more I listen to Steve, the more I really think he's in a league with Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, he's really one of the best American songwriters from the post-Dylan era. So, on one hand, it's thrilling to see him in such a small theater, and on the other, it's a bit outrageous... why isn't he more popular?  Couldn't country radio have given him some room between Clint and Garth? Couldn't classic rock have played him instead of Foreigner or REO Speedwagon?

But context aside, it was a great show. Steve always brings it, and his band the Dukes & Duchesses are great.  The only problem was, singer/multi-instrumentalist Allison Moorer wasn't there.  As Steve explained, their son John Henry took his first steps on a tour bus, and they realized that they didn't want him growing up on the road. She's an important part of the band, which felt a bit thinner without her. Steve seems to have more fun when she's there.

As I mention in my CBS NY review, the venue is perfect for Steve, and his songs -- "Hardcore Troubadour," "Someday," "Copperhead Road," "The Revolution Starts Now," "Little Emperor" and "Waiting For The Sky" -- hold up to the songs that he covers: Dylan's "It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry," Springsteen's "State Trooper" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." As with Springsteen and Petty, I'll go to see him every time he comes to town.  Luckily for me, the next show will be next month: he's about to wrap up this tour and then hit the road on a solo acoustic tour. Hopefully they get a babysitter when he plays Bergen PAC though, so Allison can come out! But even if she doesn't, it'll be a great show.

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