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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Steve Earle - Mustang Wine

SEA002_smallStephen Fain Earle was born on 17 January 1955 in Ft. Monroe, Virginia, where his father was stationed as an air traffic controller.

At 14, Steve left home for Houston to join his uncle Nick Fain, who was only 19 himself at the time. Nick encouraged Steve's guitar playing and soon after, Steve met Townes Van Zandt, who inspired him to make music his career. (Steve later commented on TVZ... "He was a real good teacher and a real bad role model.") At 19, Steve made his way to Nashville.

While struggling in the music industry, Steve paid the bills by taking on odd jobs. "I've never had a job longer than three months in my life. I've always led a bohemian lifestyle. I have framed houses, worked on oil rigs, worked on shrimp boats and in restaurants, but it was different for me because I knew I was always going to get out". Steve worked offshore for a month. "I came back with the most money I'd ever had in my life and I got in the most trouble I'd ever gotten into my life", he recalls.

In Nashville, Steve played in various bands to support himself. Steve's first known professional recording was with Guy Clark on Guy's 1975 album Old No. 1. Steve sang back-up vocals (along with Rodney Crowell, Sammy Smith, and Emmylou Harris ["The first time I met Emmylou, she came in to sing on Guy Clark's first album. She gave me half of her cheeseburger. SEA001_smallI wasn't the same for weeks."]) on the song Desperados Waiting For A Train. Steve toured with Guy from early '75 until late '76. Steve also may have appeared in Robert Altman's 1975 film, Nashville (he was part of a large crowd scene in Centennial Park, but it's not clear whether he actually shows up in the film).

Steve eventually wrote songs that were recorded by some major musical players at the time. After landing his first publishing deal with Sunbury Dunbar (a division of RCA) in November '75 (he was with them until '78), he received $75 per week draw as a staff writer.

Steve almost had a song, Mustang Wine, recorded by Elvis Presley in 1975... but Elvis never showed up for the session. The song was recorded by Carl Perkins the next year, and Johnny Lee had a Top 10 hit in 1982 with When You Fall In Love, a song that Steve co-wrote with John Scott Sherrill.

SEA003_smallFrom 1982-1985, Steve recorded some rockabilly tracks for Epic, but Epic did a poor job promoting him and the singles had little success. The songs from a 7" vinyl EP released in 1982, Pink & Black, later showed up in the post-Guitar Town (1986) frenzy as Early Tracks (1987). Epic wasn't totally stupid better late than never. The songs, in the rockabilly genre, reinforced Steve's reputation as an accomplished songwriter

Steve Earle - Live At Colne Municipal Hall, 26–05–00

Live at Cambrige folk festival 2003 NEW


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