One of my favorite road songs is “Guitar Town.”
About this time last year, I recall going on a trip with my oldest daughter. I had made a playlist of all my favorite songs. I titled the playlist “songs I like to sing.” I pressed the shuffle key on my iPhone and off we went. It seems we heard Guitar Town more times than any of the other songs on the list.
“Hey pretty baby are you ready for me It’s your good rockin’ daddy down from Tennessee,” blasted from the speakers in my Chevrolet truck.
“Are you going to play that song again dad?” My daughter questioned.. rolling her eyes.
I simply turned the volume up a little louder and kept moving on down the highway.
It wasn’t until 1986 that Steve Earle had written and recorded “Guitar Town“, the first single from his first full length album. “Guitar Town” was the song that defined Earle as a solo artist in Nashville. Although, his influence had already been in Guitar Town for over 10 years.
Steve Earle once ran away from his home in San Antonio Texas with expectations of meeting his idol singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
A few years later he did get to meet Townes. Steve Earle was only 16 but had already dropped out of school and moved to Houston with his uncle who was also pursuing a career in music.
One of Steve Earle’s most noted quotes is:
Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.Steve Earle
In 1974 at the age of 19, Steve Earle moved to Nashville Tennessee and began working by day and playing his music by night. He became a staff songwriter for the publishing company Sunbury Dunbar, and became the bass player in Guy Clark’s band.
While in Clark’s Band, he sang on Clark’s 1975 album “Old No. 1.”
Guy Clark became one of Steve Earle’s greatest mentors and greatest friends.
Steve Earle then made an appearance on the 1975 film Heartworn Highways, a documentary about the Nashville Music Scene.
The Heartworn Highway soundtrack includes Steve Earle’s, “Mercenary Song” and “Elijah’s Church”.
Heartworn Highways included David Allan Coe, Guy Clark, Townes van Zandt and Rodney Crowell.
I have been a fan of this group of musicians all of my life. So many people have heard the songs they wrote but have no idea who the original artists were. Everyone of these guys became great song writers and in my opinion, no-one else can do their songs like they do them.
I have a low tolerance for mediocrity in music and life. I’m into pain and joy and the in-between doesn’t interest me.Steve Earle
Since those early days in Guitar Town, Earle has released 15 studio albums. He has received 3 Grammy awards. His songs have been recorded by artists like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, The Highwaymen, Travis Tritt, Bob Seger and Emmylou Harris.
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and Everybody told me you can’t get far on 37 dollars and a jap guitar.