Steve Earle (born Stephen Fain Earle; January 17, 1955) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, author and actor. Earle grew up near San Antonio, Texas, and began learning the guitar at age 11. Earle began his career as a songwriter in Nashville and released his first EP in 1982. His breakthrough album was the 1986 album Guitar Town. Since then Earle has released 13 other studio albums and received three Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Shawn Colvin and Emmylou Harris. He has appeared in film and television, and has written a novel, a play, and a book of short stories. Earle was born in Fort Monroe, Virginia, and grew up near San Antonio, Texas. His father, Jack Earle, was an air traffic controller. Although he was born in Virginia where his father was stationed, the family returned to Texas before Earle's second birthday. They moved several times but Earle grew up primarily in the San Antonio area.
Earle began learning the guitar at the age of 11 and placed in a talent contest at his school at age 13. He is reported to have run away from home at age 14 to follow his idol, singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt around Texas. Earle was "rebellious" as a youngster and dropped out of school at the age of 16. He moved to Houston with his 19-year-old uncle, who was also a musician, where he married and worked odd jobs. While in Houston Earle finally met Van Zandt, who became his hero and role model.
In 1974 at the age of 19, Earle moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and began working blue-collar jobs during the day and playing music at night. During this period Earle wrote songs and played bass guitar in Guy Clark's band and on Clark's 1975 album Old No. 1. Earle appeared in the 1975 film Heartworn Highways, a documentary on the Nashville music scene which included Guy Clark, Townes van Zandt and Rodney Crowell. Earle lived in Nashville for several years and obtained a job as a staff songwriter for a publishing company called Sunbury Dunbar. Later Earle grew tired of Nashville and returned to Texas where he started a band called The Dukes.
In the 1980s Earle returned to Nashville once again and worked as a songwriter for the publishers Roy Dea and Pat Clark. A song he co-wrote, "When You Fall in Love", was recorded by Johnny Lee and made number 14 on the country charts in 1982. Carl Perkins recorded Earle's song "Mustang Wine", and two of his songs were recorded by Zella Lehr. Later Dea and Clark created an independent record label called LSI and invited Earle to began recording his own material on their label. Earle released an EP called, Pink & Black, in 1982 featuring the Dukes. Acting as Earle's manager John Lomax sent the EP to Epic Records and they signed Earle to a recording contract in 1983. In 1983 Earle signed a record deal with CBS and recorded a "neo-rockabilly album".
After losing his publishing contract with Dea and Carter, Earle met producer Tony Brown and after severing his ties with Lomax and Epic Records obtained a seven record deal with MCA Records. Earle released his first full length album, Guitar Town, on MCA Records in 1986. The title track became a Top Ten single in 1986 and his song "Goodbye's All We've Got Left" reached the Top Ten in 1987. That same year he released a compilation of earlier recordings entitled, Early Tracks, and an album with the Dukes, called Exit 0, which received critical acclaim for its blend of country and rock. Earle released Copperhead Road on Uni Records in 1989 which was characterized as "a quixotic project that mixed a lyrical folk tradition with hard rock and eclectic Irish influences such as The Pogues, who guested on the record". The album's title track portrays a Vietnam veteran who turns into a marijuana grower/dealer.
Earle's songs have been recorded by Joan Baez, The Pretenders, The Proclaimers, Eddi Reader, The Highwaymen, Waylon Jennings, Levon Helm, Emmylou Harris, Percy Sledge and Johnny Cash. Travis Tritt had a No. 7 country hit in 1995 with Earle's "Sometimes She Forgets." Earle has had a mix of appearances in television and movies ranging from cameos to full roles. His music is often used in the sound tracks for these works. Earle portrayed Walon, a recovering drug addict and counselor in several episodes of the HBO television series The Wire. He was also one of several musicians who sang a mock charity appeal in the final episode of Season 3 of 30 Rock. Earle appeared in the 2008 political documentary Slacker Uprising.
Steve Earle - SOUTH NASHVILLE BLUES – First appeared on “I Feel Alright”, released on March 5, 1996. This version from a radio Broadcast in 2011.
Steve Earle - SOMETIMES SHE FORGETS - "Sometimes She Forgets" is a song written by Steve Earle from his 1995 “Train a Comin' “ album. The highest charting version of the song was recorded by country music artist Travis Tritt, and was released in August 1995 as the lead-off single from his first greatest hits album Greatest Hits: From the Beginning released in 1995. It peaked at #7 in the United States, and #6 in Canada.
Steve Earle - COPPERHEAD ROAD – “Copperhead Road” is an American alternative country/country rock album released in 1988 by Steve Earle. Often referred to as Earle's first "rock record", Earle himself calls it the world's first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass, while in their January 26, 1989 review of the album Rolling Stone suggested the style be known as "power twang".
Steve Earle - DEVIL’S RIGHT HAND – Also taken from “Copperhead Road”.
Steve Earle - HARD CORE TROUBADOR - From “I Feel Alright”, released on March 5, 1996.
Steve Earle & Emmylou Harris - TANEYTOWN – Taken from “El Corazón” the seventh album by country rock underground icon Steve Earle, released in 1997.
Steve Earle - THE GALWAY GIRL – Originally on “Transcendental Blues”, released in 2000. It features Sharon Shannon on accordion on the track "The Galway Girl".
Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses) - THE LOW HIGHWAY – The title track from his 14th studio album. Release date: April 16, 2013
Steve Earle - I’M LOOKING THROUGH YOU - "I'm Looking Through You" is a Lennon–McCartney song, written by Paul McCartney, that first appeared on the Beatles' 1965 album Rubber Soul. Taken from “Train a Comin'”, an acoustic studio album, released in 1995. In addition to Earle, it features Peter Rowan, Norman Blake, Roy Huskey, and Emmylou Harris. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
Steve Earle - PANCHO AND LEFTY – Taken from “Townes”, a 2009 Steve Earle album on which he pays tribute to his friend and mentor, the late singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt by covering his songs. According to a New West Records press release, "The songs selected for Townes were the ones that meant the most to Earle and the ones he personally connected to . Some of the selections chosen were songs that Earle has played his entire career ('Pancho & Lefty', 'Lungs', 'White Freightliner Blues') and others he had to learn specifically for recording.
Steve Earle & Reckless Kelly - RECONSIDER ME - From “Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon”, released in 2004, is a tribute album to the late Warren Zevon by many famous musicians. The album's title comes from an interview Zevon did on the Late Show with David Letterman following Zevon's having been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Letterman asked Zevon if there was anything he understood now, facing his own mortality, that he didn't before. Zevon replied, "Just how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich."
Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams - YOU’RE STILL STANDING THERE – Also from “I Feel Alright “.
Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers – GUITAR TOWN – First appeared on “Guitar Town”, the debut album from singer-songwriter Steve Earle, released on March 5, 1986. It topped the Billboard country album charts, and the title song reached #7 on the country singles charts. Earle was also nominated for two 1987 Grammy Awards, Best Male Country Vocalist and Best Country Song, for the title track. The album was recorded in late 1985 and early 1986 in Nashville, Tennessee, at Sound Stage Studio. Overdubs were later recorded at Nashville's Emerald Studios. It was one of the first country music albums to be recorded digitally. Each of the album's ten tracks was either written or co-written by Earle.
Taken from “At the Ryman”, a 1992 live album by Emmylou Harris and her then-newly formed acoustic backing band, The Nash Ramblers, recorded at the Ryman Auditorium, most famously known as the one-time home of the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, Tennessee.