Despite his far-left leanings, I like most of Steve Earle's work. If you don't know Steve, imagine him as a sort-of Johnny Cash with a heap of 1960s musical influences thrown in.
He's had the prerequisite personal life issues that afflict many country/rocker types (drug addiction, six failed marriages), but I'm going to try to stick to Earle's music and his politics.
His otherwise solid 2002 work, "Jerusalem," was sidetracked by a bad note known as "John Walker's Blues," a song about the "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh.
In the song, Earle offers a very sympathetic view of Lindh, neglecting to mention in the song the vile nature of the Taliban government.
Interestingly, music was banned from the Afghan radio by the Taliban, a detail also left out of "John Walker Blues."
Last summer, Steve Earle released "The Revolution Starts Now;" the artwork of the album is prominently graced by a large red communist star. The album isn't very good, and like John Fogerty's "Deja Vu (All Over Again)," Earle's last one seems to have been a rushed affair, released quickly to sway the 2004 election into Kerry's favor.
We know how that ended up.
On "The Revolution Starts Now," there's a song "Warrior," about a family man who joins the army to pay bills (there's no work at home, you see, because "all the jobs have gone to Mexico.") While serving in Afghanistan, "the Warrior's" car is repossessed.
Then there's "Condi Condi," about you know who, this song has has Earle singing some nonsense, with a bastardized reggae beat, about Condi you-know-who..
Then there's the title track.
Courtesy of Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune. (I know only wants excerpted articles, but hey, I'm a subscriber, and via this blog, I've sent many people to the Chicago Tribune site. If the Trib complains, I'll delete or excerpt the post.)
Singer-songwriter Steve Earle and his band the Dukes record their politically charged anti-war, anti-Bush album "The Revolution Starts Now" in a matter of days. "The most important presidential election of our lifetime was less than seven months away and we desperately wanted to weigh in, both as artists and as citizens of a democracy."
Earle wrote on his Web site.The rallying cry of a title track begins and ends the album, featuring lyrics such as: The revolution starts here. Where you work and where you play, Where you lay your money down, What you do and what you say, The revolution starts now
AUG. 24, 2004:
Artemis Records releases "The Revolution Starts Now" to wide-spread acclaim. Milo Miles of Rolling Stone calls it "easily the most potent roar about Iraq so far." The title track wins Earle far more radio play than usual, with the song being played frequently on WXRT-FM 93.1.
NOV. 2, 2004:
George W. Bush is re-elected president of the United States.
DEC. 2, 2004
Earle writes on his blog: "I am suggesting refusing, resisting, organizing and getting out in the streets, and SINGING at the top of our lungs. Richard Nixon began pulling our guys out of Vietnam only when he and his government began to fear chaos in the streets of America. We can do this. We have to.
FEB. 13, 2005:
"The Revolution Starts Now" wins the Grammy Award for best contemporary folk album.
JULY 12, 2005:
A Chevy truck ad plays during the Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. The soundtrack: Earle's song "The Revolution Starts Now." Earle's manager Dan Gillis explains: "It's just a business decision we decided to make, and we went with it." Earle is not available for comment