Not-so-young gun

Steve Earle re­vis­its out­law mu­sic with a lit­tle help from his friends.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music - By KRISTIN M. HALL

ALT-coun­try rocker Steve Earle and coun­try star Mi­randa Lam­bert shared writ­ing credit on one of Lam­bert’s big­gest hits from her de­but al­bum in 2005, but the two never ac­tu­ally got into a writ­ers’ room un­til more than a decade later.

Lam­bert wrote the song Kerosene, the al­bum ti­tle track, which led to her first Grammy nom­i­na­tion. But she later decided it sounded too sim­i­lar to a song penned by Earle, so she gave him credit.

“I hate telling her this, but I would have never done any­thing about it,” said the 62-year-old Grammy-win­ning song­writer known for songs like Cop­per­head Road.

“It’s a gift from Mi­randa the way I see it.”

But that con­nec­tion and a chance meet­ing be­tween the two at a beauty salon lead Earle to de­cide it was fi­nally time to do a proper co-write with one of coun­try mu­sic’s big­gest stars. Last year the two penned a twangy breakup duet fea­tur­ing fid­dle and gui­tar that melds the two voices, one weath­ered and the other weary. The two later cut the song in Austin, Texas, for Earle’s new al­bum, So You Wannabe An Out­law, re­leased last week.

“It was a re­ally cool ex­pe­ri­ence to write with him and he’s such an amaz­ing song­writer,” Lam­bert said. “I was in­tim­i­dated but I learned a lot.”

Earle has the same high opin­ion of Lam­bert, call­ing her last ef­fort – the crit­i­cally ac­claimed double al­bum The Weight Of These Wings – stun­ning.

When Earle first ar­rived in Nashville from Austin in the 70s, he was the young gun among a group of vet­eran singer-song­writ­ers like Townes Van Zandt, Rod­ney Crow­ell, Guy Clark, Waylon Jen­nings and more. It was the be­gin­ning of the out­law movement, which Earle at­tempts to re­visit on his new record.

Earle, who broke out with his 1986 de­but Gui­tar Town, said he still runs into fans who be­lieve the movement was all about booze, drugs and a free­wheel­ing life­style, although Earle’s pre­vi­ous ad­dic­tions have con­trib­uted to that lore. “Part of the point of this record was to re­ha­bil­i­tate the term ‘out­law’,” he said.

“There was this mo­ment when coun­try mu­sic that was art was going on here and in Austin, and I was there.”

In writ­ing the record, Earle swapped out his acous­tic gui­tar for a Fen­der Tele­caster and spent a lot of time lis­ten­ing to Jen­nings’ Honky Tonk He­roes. He growls on the ti­tle track with Wil­lie Nel­son that be­ing an out­law meant “you can’t ever go home”.

“I was al­ways grate­ful and was very aware that I had just got­ten here in time to be a part of a mo­ment,” said Earle. “A lot of the things that I am able to do at this point in my life, I am able to do be­cause I hap­pened to be lucky and be in the right place at the right time.” – AP

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