Re: Steve Earle / Tom Petty
posted at 1/31/2014 9:31 AM EST
I've been following Steve Earle his entire career. Oddly I've only seen him live once, and that was fairly recently. There are plenty of obvious reasons why he never had huge commercial success. One of the big ones to my way of thinking is that he never sat still long enough for the masses to figure him out.
He was a straight ahead, clean-cut Country Rocker early on, he was getting lots of exposure, doing Grammy shows, etc. And Nashville liked him.
Then he decided to veer into the so-called Outlaw area with Copperhead Road. Nashville didn't care for it, or his new scruffy look. But he really thought that was going to be his big cross over hit. It didn't happen that way, and then the drugs and prison knocked him off the road entirely for a while. His weight ballooned way, way up, he looked like Jabba the Hut for a couple of years.
He did clean up, and released a string of good and great albums. The critics certainly loved them. I don't think he cared anymore about mainstream success, which was good, because the mainstream moved to places I still don't get myself. He's still plugging away, but he looks awful on stage, to be frank. Scraggly comb over, some of that excess weight has come back. But he is somehow doing well anyway. Got a younger babe for wife number ... 6 I think. Doing TV, books, and still cranking out some music.
If he'd stop trying to cram his politics down everyone's throat he'd do even better. I agree with most of what he says, but even I don't want to hear it. I just want the music.