Monday, 16 February 2015

Steve Earle - Terraplane, album review

Tell-Tale Blues

I was surprised and a little saddened to hear that Terraplane is a bit of a ‘break-up’ album for Earle as he has recently split with Alison Moorer. These things happen - so there you go - but as that relationships had inspired one of his finest love songs, Every Part of Me, it is an ironic factor to know, and that knowledge ignites the possible meanings in the album's second track You’re The Best Love That I Ever Had.

Earle and the blues are hardly new musical bedfellows, and through both his personal and musical life, they are symbiotic. What he does bring to the performance of the blues here is authenticity in its grit and groove, as well as a hardish rock, like The Tennessee Kid which reminds of the rock blues of Canned Heat. This is immediately counter-balanced on the album by the acoustic with violin blues of Ain’t Nobody’s Daddy Now which would appear to laud his new bachelorhood. But then, the next track Better Off Alone is one of those classic outwardly positive assertions swelled from the inside with the reality of hurt. It is a beautiful and painful blueslove song.

There are plenty of classic acoustic tracks betwixt and between these mentioned. The album closes on a neat blues chug, King of the Blues, and Earle sings in his signature drawl at a spoken pace, all poetry and passion in the rudimentary beat.

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